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Guy Rose (1867-1925)
The Distant Town
signed 'Guy Rose' lower right--inscribed with title on the reverse
oil on canvas
24 x 29in. (61 x 73.6cm.)

Lot Essay

Like many American artists painting abroad at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries, Guy Rose travelled to the artist's colony of Giverny, France to immerse himself in the techniques of the Impressionist style. At Giverny Rose became close friends with the circle of American painters residing there, including Frederick Carl Frieseke and Alson Clark. Rose later described his initial visit to Giverny, writing, "When I first saw the French countryside at Giverny, it seemed queer and strange, and above all so wonderfully beautiful, that the first impression still lasts."

"The village is on the road from Paris to Rouen, in the lovely Seine valley, between hills that rise on either side. A long winding road is ordered with plastered houses, whose lichen-covered, red tiled roofs gleam opalescent red and green in sunlight or look faded mauve in the shadow. High walls surround picturesque gardens; and long hillsides...slope down to low flat meadows through which run the river Epte, bordered with stilted willows. Trees are loaded with fragrant bloom, and poppies and violets are everywhere." ("At Giverny," Pratt Institute Monthly, December 1897, p. 81)

The Distant Town nearly illustrates Rose's description of the Seine valley. The sloping hillside is covered with poppies and other wildflowers and overlooks a small town in the distance, in the center of which stands an impressive gothic church. Rose most likely painted The Distant Town between 1900 and 1910, as it is characterized by the soft effects of light that are typical of the artist's work from this period.

S.I. Fort has written of Rose's art during the Giverny years. "At Giverny, Rose was more intrigued by the effects of a delicate haze or the nuances of early morning and twilight than by brilliant sun-light. Consequently many of his scenes...are characterized by a soft, almost wispy brushwork, delicate coloration, and a limited tonal range." ("The Cosmopolitan Guy Rose," California Light, 1900-1930, p. 99)
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