Guy Rose (1867-1925) View of Wood's Cove, Rockledge 24 x 29in framed 36 x 40in

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Lot 46
Guy Rose
View of Wood's Cove, Rockledge 24 x 29in framed 36 x 40in

Sold for US$ 560,075 inc. premium
Guy Rose (1867-1925)
View of Wood's Cove, Rockledge
signed 'Guy Rose' (lower right)
oil on canvas
24 x 29in
framed 36 x 40in


  • Provenance
    Joan Irvine Smith Fine Art, Laguna Beach, California.
    Private collection, Beverly Hills, California.

    Will South, Guy Rose: American Impressionist, The Oakland Museum, 1995, illustrated in color, p. 130.
    Jean Stern, Masters of Light, Plein Air Painting in California 1890-1930, Irvine, 2002, illustrated in color, p. 41, 170, 171.

    In the catalogue for the Guy Rose Memorial exhibition of 1926, Peyton Boswell writes at the top of the first page that "Guy Rose has two native lands. The body of the man and the soul of him came into existence in California, but his art was born and nurtured in France." Rose was one of a number American artists who went to Europe in the late-nineteenth-century to absorb time-honored academic traditions—rigid, exact drawing and accurate, Salon-appropriate paintings. He was typical, too, in that he felt the irresistible attraction to outdoor painting where nature was constantly shifting in incandescent color. Rose would forever remain a confident and careful draftsman and composer of solid compositions, but his surfaces are animated by the vitality of light as actually observed. By the turn of the century, Rose and his wife, Ethel, were living in Giverny where Guy gained an intimate knowledge of the work of that little town's most famous artist, Claude Monet. Rose took his academic foundation and swiftly built upon it with the new modern style of the day, brightening his palette and adding a completely new wispy, quick freshness to his works. The result was to become the hallmark of American Impressionism.

    When Guy Rose returned to California in 1914, he brought with him a vast firsthand knowledge of what was happening in the art world in both Europe as well as on the East Coast. This experience enabled the artist to work confidently with a broad array of compositions and colors. These works were to form the peak of his career. Dr. Will South writes of this period in Guy Rose: American Impressionist, "In painting the Pacific, Rose could indulge two of his major pictorial interests explored at Giverny; reflections on water and multifarious atmosphere. It also satisfied his personal penchant for creating images of solitude and quiet. In 1915 and 1916 he visited the Southern California beach communities of Laguna and La Jolla and painted the coastline with a complete command of the impressionistic strategies he had mastered at Giverny." Rose found the constant sunlight and postcard-perfect scenery of southern California ideal for setting up shop as an easel painter. He took advantage of his proximity to the sea and made excursions to the coast whenever possible. Antony Anderson, art critic for the Los Angeles Times, saw something in the California paintings above and beyond the French scenes. In February of 1916 Anderson wrote of Rose's works then on view: "Charming as are the pictures from Giverny and Toulon, they have not the grasp of the solidities that we find in those from Laguna and La Jolla. They are not so translucently poetic. Perhaps the painter has always needed the sunlight of his boyhood".

    In View of Wood's Cove, Rockledge the California artist brings his French skills to bear on a classic subject. Jean Stern writes in Masters of Light: Plein Air Painting in California 1890-1930 that with this painting Rose was '...emulating the tradition of Winslow Homer and, closer to home, William Ritschel up in Monterey, depicting the meeting of the flowing Pacific waters and the sloping rocky shoreline.' (p. 41) Stern goes on to write of the favored status of this particular cove and the series of images he painted of the location (like Monet and his water lilies) Rose painted at least three similar versions of this scene. Incoming Tide in the Joan Irvine Smith Collection approaches the view with a cooler and more subdued palette.

    View of Wood's Cove, Rockledge embodies the masterful blending of different techniques to capture the poetry of the location. Rose uses an "S" shaped composition divided in two parts which separately exploit complimentary colors. The top half of the painting is predominantly yellows on the right side in the rocky shore with deep blues in the water below the horizon. In the bottom half the painting complimentary colors are used again with purple shadows and more green dominant tones in the shallows in water. The "S" of the composition creates movement as well Rose gives the viewer the sensation of the shore rushing into the sea just as much as the sea surging onto the shore. The top half pulls the viewer into the water with bright almost blinding white highlights in the yellow and cream rocks moving down to the white in the surf center left. The bottom half of the composition has the swells slowly marching into the curve of the rock ledge with greens and purples of the water echoed in the shadows of the rock ledge. These shadows create the feeling of a static swell threatening the shore.
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