Guy Rose, the premier California plein air painter, began his studies in his hometown of Pasadena and attended the California School of Design in San Francisco. In 1888, Rose traveled to Paris for the first time and immediately enrolled in the Acadmie Julian where he would study for three years. In the spring of the following year, Rose visited the French countryside with his friend and fellow student Ernest Peixotto. He recalled his first impressions of Giverny in an account written ten years later, "When I first saw the French country at Giverny, it seemed so queer and strange, and above all so wonderfully beautiful, that the first impression still lasts; so that whenever I think of France that is the way I always see it... Here the beautiful days come and go,--each changing season, each hour, more full of fascination than the last." (Guy Rose, "At Giverny", Pratt Institute Monthly 6, December 1897, p. 81)
In Giverny, Rose became more fully aware of the work of Claude Monet and began to incorporate a looser and brighter style of painting into his work. He once remarked, "Monet himself was the chief object of interest in the place." (Ibid, p. 81) Monet's defining impressionistic techniques greatly influenced the work of Rose and the many American expatriots who were painting in the French countryside. French Chateau in Winter is a beautiful example of Rose's Giverny scenes and exemplifies his impressionist palette. One can imagine, through Rose's choice of blue to white tones, the chilliness of the day and the muted sounds of the landscape blanketed by snow. A chateau is situated on the left side of the canvas and its grounds, divided by low stone walls, extend diagonally across to the right side. A barren row of poplars separate the house from the fields and the hills beyond.
French Chateau in Winter incorporates the physical world harmoniously into its natural surroundings. In writing about Guy Rose's affinity with Nineteenth Century painters such as William Keith and George Inness, Will South asserts that, "these artists hoped to wrest from earth and sky an eloquent grandeur in sufficient quantity to invest their own canvases with life-enriching experience, as opposed to Monet, who coolly dissected the empirical world without a conscious regard for notions of transcendence. This attitude toward nature--poetic, humble and subservient--lay beneath the carefully crafted vision of Guy Rose." (Will South, "Guy Rose (1867-1925) American Impressionist", Guy Rose American Impressionist, The Oakland Museum and The Irvine Museum, 1995, p. 50)