Guy Rose (1867-1925)
Martin's Point, Carmel
signed 'Guy Rose' (lower right)
oil on canvas
24 x 29 in. (61 x 73.7 cm.)
Elisabeth Severance Prentiss, Pasadena, California and Cleveland, Ohio.
Estate of the above, 1944.
By descent to the present owner.

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Lot Essay

Arguably the most pivotal artist to inspire fundamental change from academic nineteenth century artistic style toward Impressionism in California was Guy Rose. Born in the San Gabriel Valley, Rose began his early artistic education in San Francisco and later traveled to Paris in 1888 for further study. He resided in France for twelve years, spending much of his time in Giverny where he was heavily influenced by Claude Monet and closely acquainted with other American artists Frederick Frieseke, Richard E. Miller and Alson Clark. During this time Rose developed a unique sensibility that was quite uncharacteristic of the European manner of painting. Rather than scientifically mastering the effects of light and color and translating them directly onto the canvas, Rose added a sentience to his landscapes that was unseen in Monet's. "Rose is a direct, artistic descendent of Monet, but he is a man of today, and he is therefore more personal in his point of view. In him, Monet's passion for paint has been metamorphosed by time and spirit into a poetic feeling for nature, a more fastidious faculty of selection." (A. Anderson, The Los Angeles Times, 17 January 1917)

After his return to California, Rose embraced the local landscape and its subtle yet majestic qualities. It appears that in 1918 Rose first visited Carmel, an artist's community that had previously attracted many East Coast artists such as Childe Hassam and William Merritt Chase, as well as a number of artists who relocated from San Francisco following the 1906 earthquake. Rose would settle in Carmel shortly thereafter and the distinctly rugged coastline would remain a focal point for the rest of his career. "Indeed, Rose painted a substantial number of his best-known works in what was less than a year's time at Carmel, and, focusing on coastal views, he attempted to extend the expressive significance of the painted atmosphere." (W. South, Guy Rose: American Impressionist, Oakland, California, 1995, p. 67)

In this outstanding example of his California style of Impressionism, Rose combines subtle tonalities of palette with light, feathery brushwork, and the atmospheric quality of the incoming fog to create a poetic rendering of the dramatic California coast. The foreground is heavily painted with quick dabs of bright pigment and its rich texture exhibits Rose's confident brushwork. The heavier, more grounded earth gradually leading toward the distant intangible sky reveals the spirituality in Rose's landscapes, a testament to his personal, transcendent impressions of nature.

The present painting once hung in the Cordelia Culbertson House in Pasadena, California built by the famed Greene and Greene design firm. Commissioned by the three Culbertson sisters in 1911, the resplendent Oak Knoll neighborhood home was the largest commission received by the Greene brothers to date and embodied the exquisite craftsmanship and high level design that made them innovators of the American Arts and Crafts Movement. By 1917, when the Culbertson sisters could no longer afford the upkeep of the home, Mrs. Dudley P. Allen of Cleveland, Ohio (née Elisabeth Sill Severance, later Mrs. Francis Fleury Prentice) took ownership of the Culbertson House and collaborated with the Greene brothers on several small alterations to the home. Martin's Point, Carmel hung in the Cordelia Culbertson House until 1944 and has remained in the Severance family until the present time.

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