Lot# 098 Guy Orlando Rose (1867-1925 Pasadena, CA)
''Shifting Shadows'', Giverny landscape with willow trees near a river, oil on linen, 23.5'' H x 28.75'' W, est: $300,000/500,000
*Price Realized: $290,000.00
signed lower right: Guy Rose, titled verso. Note: While living at Giverny early in the 20th century, Guy Rose painted a wide range of subjects that included still life, nudes, women posed out of doors, aerial vistas and churches. No matter the ostensible subject, a primary concern of any Rose was always light. This is nowhere more true than in his ''Shifting Shadows'' where figures are absent and the effect of sun through trees takes center stage.
Rose worked on the challenge of the skyless, tree-shrouded composition numerous times at Giverny, famously in the Oakland Museum of California's painting, ''Warm Afternoon'', c. 1910. That painting is exactly the same size as ''Shifting Shadows'', only vertical in orientation. ''Warm Afternoon'' is dominated by the beautiful but wholly standard narrative of the pretty woman seated restfully inside the frame of nature. Behind her is a row of pollarded willows along the edge of the River Epte. Though she is haloed by frenzied light, her presence drives the poetry: we focus on her unmoving loveliness as the Ideal: youth, health and harmony come together in the pitch-perfect landscape.
Subtract this figure, and we have ''Shifting Shadows'': rows of pollarded (this means pruned in a way that leaves the remaining limbs growing upright) willows where the only trace of human presence is the slight pink path, itself trailing off into thickets of green. Absent the idealized narrative figure, we can focus on what fascinated Rose throughout his mature career: the careening effects of fractured light patterns.
Like his American artist-peers at Giverny?a group that included luminaries Alson Clark, Frederick Frieseke and Theodor Earl Butler?Rose kept tight and definitive boundaries on the figures he painted, no matter how sun drenched they were. Again, jettison the figure and Rose's willingness to quickly, if not aggressively, attack the picture is more evident: in ''Shifting Shadows'', the admixture of tinted greens, yellows and blues fairly race across the canvas from left to right as overhead strands of light pour in. The intensity of the experience is heightened by his use of brisk shots of cerulean blue in shadowed areas, and a consistent spray of pink patches along the willows. Thin, upstretched limbs that would have been defined in lesser hands with muted siennas and umbers are here translated in single strokes of viridian. Rose's control over the explosive energy of his palette is understood via the overall calm, intimate and tranquil image that he ultimately creates?in short, he paints with rapidity but certainty, and with a passion for pure color he nonetheless paints a quietly seductive picture.
''Shifting Shadows'' was painted somewhere in the middle of Rose's eight-year residence at Giverny from 1904?1912. From Giverny, he returned to New York and finally back to California in 1914 where he would paint but another roughly seven years until suffering a debilitating stroke in 1921. During those last years in California, Rose painted some of the most iconic images the State has yet known in its relatively short art history. What informs those brilliantly-lit vistas of California from Laguna to Carmel is the efficient and altogether elegant Impressionist technique he mastered years earlier at Giverny, as evidenced in ''Shifting Shadows'' . Provenance: The artist; Stendahl Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Jessie Yarnell Kimball, Los Angeles, CA; Curtis Yarnell Kimball, Marian Kimball and Cecilia Wictor, Los Angeles, CA. Condition: Visual: Generally good condition. Some stable craquelure scattered throughout. Two tiny spots of surface grime in the upper left quadrant and in the center. Blacklight: No evidence of restoration under blacklight.