''Monterey, Calif.'', a Monterey coastal landscape, circa 1918-1920, signed lower right: Guy Rose, titled on a gum label affixed to the stretcher, oil on canvas, 12'' H x 18'' W, est: $70,000/90,000
Note: When Guy Rose returned to his native Southern California in 1914 after eight years in Giverny, Northern France, he brought with him an intensified focus on light and atmosphere. Particularly in his Pacific seascapes, ''Rose could indulge two of his major pictorial interests explored at Giverny; reflections on water and multifarious atmosphere. It also satisfied his personal penchant for creating images of solitude and quiet'' (W. South, ''Guy Rose: American Impressionist''', Oakland, CA, 1995, p. 62).
Rose first visited Carmel-by-the-Sea in 1918, and the Carmel and Monterey areas immediately became ''the primary focus of what were to be his last years of painting'' (W. South, p. 67). Rose spent the summers of 1918, 1919 and 1920 in Carmel and there produced a prodigious number of Carmel and Monterey coastals, exploring similar locations and views but always approaching each painting as a unique experience. ''It was clearly not Rose's intent to paint the same scene over and over, but rather to paint the varied experiences of expansiveness versus enclosure, of translucence versus opacity, or warmth versus cold'' (W. South, p. 67).
''Monterey, Calif.'' is a remarkable study of light and water-saturated air at the intersection where ocean meets land. Rose utilizes a restrained range from sunlight to shadow and plays with subtle changes in light and dark pigments to enliven the composition. ''Rose?s keen attentiveness to actual atmospheric conditions, derived most fully from Monet, intensifies the experience of openness and recession'' (W. South, p. 64). Recession is a prominent feature here as the exposed coastal rocks recede further and further into deepening water toward the open ocean. Interestingly, in the present work Rose omits the horizon line and sky, effectively reining in the sensation of an infinite sea often evoked by his coastals and directing attention instead toward rich coastal details.
The immediacy of the foreground rocks along the lower compositional edge, painted in rose and blue-grey tones, give the impression that the viewer is in the scene, standing above the small cove. A glimpse of beach in the lower right nearly blends with the neighboring rocks, whose smooth planes become rough and craggy where the rock extends out and above the water. Spectral algae blooms on the underside reflect the water?s surface colors. The outcropping casts the deepest shadow in the composition, creating turquoise jewel-tone facets on the inside of a gentle wave moving toward the beach. The rich shadows are further emphasized by near-black paint used to present the rock below the shifting surface. Tight, lively brushstrokes of white water that churn over the edges of the retreating rocks in the middle ground are in contrast with elongated, flat, horizontal brushwork that finishes the furthest viewable ocean. Rose?s obsessive focus on color behavior in coastal atmospheric variation is on exquisite display in ''Monterey, Calif.''
. Provenance: The Baeder Estate, New York
Visual: Generally good condition. Craquelure throughout. Blacklight: No evidence of restoration under blacklight.