Rosa Covarrubias (nee Rolanda)


Floral still life

Watercolor on paper
Signed lower right: Rosa Rolanda
Sight: 18" H x 13.5" W

  • Provenance: The Collection of Frederick W. Davis
    Private Collection, Southern California, by descent from the above
  • Notes: Rosa Rolanda, born Rosemonde Cowan in Azusa, California, was a multidisciplinary artist whose life intersected with the Mexican Revolution's aftermath and modern artistic movements. Growing up with a Scottish father and Mexican mother, her artistic talents emerged early, spanning costume design, sculpture, and dance.

    In 1916, she gained recognition as a Marion Morgan Dancer in New York City's Broadway scene. Adopting the stage name Rosa Rolanda, she toured Europe with the Ziegfeld Follies, showcasing her dance skills.

    Her life changed when she met Mexican painter Miguel Covarrubias in New York. They married in 1930 and settled in Mexico, where Rolanda deepened her studies in art and photography.

    During her time in Paris in the 1920s, she was influenced by surrealistic photography after encounters with artists like Man Ray and Edward Weston. Her photography often focused on everyday life, especially women and children in rural areas.

    By the 1930s, Rolanda began experimenting with photograms, creating abstract effects by manipulating light. Her notable piece, "Autorretrato" (Self-Portrait, c. 1930), combined everyday objects around a simple self-portrait.

    Her artistic endeavors extended to painting, characterized by figures with distinct almond-shaped eyes. While she painted portraits of friends like María Félix and Dolores del Río, her self-portraits stood out. "Autorretrato" (Self-Portrait, 1952) depicted her staring directly at the viewer amidst symbolic elements referencing her past as a dancer and hints of mortality.

    Rolanda remained influential in Mexican art until her death in 1970, leaving a legacy that spans painting, photography, dance, and costume design. Her diverse artistic contributions cemented her place among the notable figures in the Mexican art scene.
  • Condition: Overall good condition. A very soft 2.5" horizontal surface scratch in the background of the upper right quadrant.

    Framed under glass: 22.75" H x 18.5" W x 1.25" D

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December 6, 2023 12:00 PM PST
Monrovia, CA, US

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