Born on March 3, 1867, in San Gabriel, California
Died on November 17, 1925, in Pasadena, California
Guy Orlando Rose was born on March 3, 1867, in San Gabriel, California. He was the seventh child of Leonard John Rose (1827-1899), a German-born successful businessman and California State Senator, and Amanda Jones Rose. He was raised on Sunny Slope, the family ranch in the San Gabriel Valley, just north-east of Los Angeles. In 1889, Leonard J. Rose sold the Sunny Slope Ranch and built a luxurious mansion in Los Angeles, at the corner of Fourth Street and Grand Avenue. In 1899, despondant over his mounting debts, Guy Rose’s father, Leonard J. Rose, committed suicide in his backyard.
As a child, Rose was accidentally shot in the chin during a hunting trip with his brothers in 1876. He recovered, but it is believed that he retained several lead pellets in his chin. For the rest of his life, he suffered chronic bout of lead poisoning, aggravated by his use of oil paints which, at the time, contained significant amounts of lead. To hide the scar on his chin, Rose later grew a beard.
While recuperating from the hunting accident, Rose began to sketch and paint in watercolors and oil paints. In 1884, he graduated from Los Angeles High School and two years later, went to San Francisco to study at the California School of Design. There, in 1886 and 1887, he took classes with Emil Carlsen (1853-1932) and Virgil Williams (1830-1886).
In 1888, he went to Paris and enrolled at the Académie Julian. There, he studied under Jean-Joseph Benjamin-Constant (1845-1902), Jules Lefebvre (1836-1912) and Jean-Paul Laurens (1838-1921). He was an exceptional student who won every award the school offered and soon found his paintings accepted for the annual Paris Salon exhibitions, a singular honor for an American art student.
In 1894, Rose experienced a serious bout of lead poisoning which forced him to abandon oil painting. The following year, in Paris, in 1895, Rose married Ethel Boardman, and artist a fashion illustrator. The couple remained together for the rest of his life.
He and Ethel returned to the United States in the winter of 1895, where Rose began a career as an illustrator, using pen-and-ink and water-based media and avoiding oil paints altogether. He also taught drawing and portraiture at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. He gradually regained his health and returned to oil painting around 1897.
In 1899, he returned to Paris, where he continued to do illustration work for Harper’s Bazaar andother American magazines. He was greatly influenced by Claude Monet (1840-1926), and in 1904, Rose and Ethel settled in Giverny, becoming members of the small American art colony there. Although Rose did not paint with Monet, they nevertheless were friends and often socialized together.
In Giverny, Rose associated with American artists Richard Miller (1875-1943), Lawton Parker (1868-1939), and Frederick Frieseke (1874-1939), all of whom were permanent residents there. While in Giverny, Rose met Alson Skinner Clark (1876-1949), who was visiting Frederick Frieseke. Clark would later move to Pasadena and form a lasting friendship with Rose. In 1910, Frieseke, Miller, Parker, Edmund Greacen (1876–1949), Karl Anderson (1874-1956) and Rose exhibited in New York as “The Giverny Group.”
Rose returned permanently to the United States in 1912, staying for a time in Rhode Island with his wife’s family, and later, New York. He moved to Pasadena at the end of 1914 and became active in local art circles, serving for several years on the board of trustees of the newly opened Los Angeles Museum of History, Science and Art. In Pasadena, he rekindled his friendship with Alson Clark. Rose became the director of the Stickney Memorial School of Fine Arts in Pasadena and persuaded Richard Miller to teach at the school in 1916. When Rose retired from Stickney, he arranged to have Clark take over his post as director.
Rose painted primarily in the southern part of the state until about 1917, at which time he began to spend summers in Carmel and Monterey. He favored a serial style of painting like that of Monet, in which the same scene would be depicted at different times of day. Arthur Millier, the art critic for the Los Angeles Times expressed great admiration when he remarked that Rose was “almost more a French Impressionist than an American painter.”
In 1921 Rose was disabled by a stroke that left him partially paralyzed and unable to paint. Four years later, Guy Rose died on November 17, 1925, in Pasadena, California.
Rose was a member of the California Art Club and the Laguna Beach Art Association. Three one-man exhibitions were held for him at the Los Angeles Museum in 1916, 1918, and 1919. He was represented in Los Angeles by Stendahl Galleries, which held a memorial exhibition of his works in 1926. He was also represented in New York by the prestigious Macbeth Gallery. Among his numerous awards were a Bronze Medal, Pan-American Exposition, Buffalo, 1901; a Silver Medal, Panama-Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco, 1915; and the William Preston Harrison Prize, California Art Club, 1921.