A California impressionist painter born in San Gabriel, Guy Orlando Rose (1867-1925) became the first native Southern Californian to receive international fame. His paintings of coastal and inland Carmel and Laguna Beach made him one of the most renowned California painters in the late 19th and early 20th century.
Born seventh of eight children to Leonard John and Amanda Rose, Rose grew up on the wealthy family’s ranch and vineyard “Sunny Slope” in Rosemead (the community was named for the Rose family). The young Rose, however, seemed more interested in books than agriculture. In 1876, after having suffered an accidental gunshot wound to the face when on a hunting trip with two older brothers, nine-year-old Guy took up sketching and painting while recuperating. He graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1884 and, with his father’s support, went to study at the San Francisco Art Association’s California School of Design. There, he began earning recognition for his talent. Three years later, his father entered California politics and was elected to represent Los Angeles County in the state senate.
In 1888, the young Rose moved to Paris to study art at Académie Julian, where he continued to achieve recognition. In 1895, he married illustrator/writer Ethel Boardman. Four years later, Rose was awarded a scholarship to the Académie Delacluse. For the first time, his work was exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1890 (where he also exhibited in 1891 and 1894). In 1894, he became the first California artist to receive an award from the Paris Salon. However, at this time, Rose began experiencing the effects of lead poisoning (possibly as a result of his childhood gunshot wound) affecting his eyesight and crippling his ability to paint. Consequently, the Roses moved back to the United States in 1895 to settle in New York City. There he took work as an illustrator for prominent magazines such as Harper’s Weekly and taught art at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn.
In 1897, Rose lost his father to suicide, who had been financially ruined by bad investments. Rose, however, was beginning to regain his ability to paint. In 1900, the Roses returned to Paris where he continued to work as an illustrator for American magazines. In 1904, the Roses moved to the French town of Giverny, where they connected with the local American art colony, the Plein-Air movement and French painter Claude Monet.
In 1912, the Roses returned to New York. They spent their summers, during 1913 and 1914, in Narragansett, Rhode Island, where Guy taught sketching. In 1914, seeking a better climate for ailing Guy, the Roses moved again, but, this time, to his native California. They settled in Pasadena. In 1917, the Roses began spending summers in Carmel and Monterey where they became actively involved with the local art colony. During this period, Guy began creating his acclaimed California coastal paintings.
When at home in the Los Angeles Area, Rose served on the Board of Governors for the Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art (present-day Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County) and taught at the Stickney Memorial School of Fine Arts in Pasadena. In 1919, he became director of the school. His afflication from lead poisoning, however, began worsening. Since lead was an ingredient in oil paints, Rose had to cease painting altogether. In 1921, he suffered a paralyzing stroke. Four years later, in 1925, he died in Pasadena.
In 1926, the Stendahl Art Galleries held a Guy Rose Memorial exhibit of his works at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles.
All are oil on canvas paintings
San Gabriel Road, 1914, private collection.
The Sycamores, Pasadena, circa 1918, Laguna Art Museum.
Arroyo Seco, date unknown, private collection.
Eagle Rock, date unknown, private collection.
San Gabriel Mission, date unknown, Fleischer Museum.
Palms, date unknown, private collection.
Laguna Rocks, Low Tide, circa 1915-16, private collection.
Laguna Coast, circa 1916, private collection.
Laguna Eucalytus, circa 1917, Irvine Museum.
Lifting Fog, Laguna, date unknown, Irvine Museum.
A Carmel Pine, circa 1918, private collection.
Carmel Seascape, circa 1918, Irvine Museum.
Point Lobos, circa 1918, Irvine Museum.
Carmel Dunes, 1918-20, LACMA.
Late Afternoon Giverny, 1910, San Diego Museum of Art.
The Blue Kimono, circa 1910, private collection.
Warm Afternoon, circa 1910, Oakland Museum of California.
Marguerite, circa 1918, Bowers Museum.
Images courtesy of The Athenaeum. For images of other Rose works, visit The Athenaeum - Guy Orlando Rose - Artworks.
Sample paintings by Guy Orlando Rose, considered one of the most important turn-of-the-century American Impressionists.