Guy Rose (1867–1925)
The Gondolier, Venice, c. 1890
Oil on canvas, 12 ½ x 18 in.
Signed lower right: Guy Rose
Stamp on verso: Paul Foinet / (Van Eyck) / 54 rue N. D. des Champs Paris / Toiles & Coulleurs Fines
Provenance: private collection, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, until 2006
A Gondolier, Venice depicts a gondola as it glides across a serene lagoon. For Rose, this painting was an experiment in composition and color. Although the date of the painting is unknown, the compositional type, an open foreground with much of the detail crowded in a narrow band toward the top of the image, suggests that it was painted during the 1890s. Rose structured the image by balancing the vertical moorings and campanile against the insistent horizontal emphasis of the far shore, the horizon, and the rippling water. In the open foreground, blues and greens veil a layer of rose-colored paint, a subtle effect that imitates the shimmering surface of the water. The yellow campanile and peach buildings on the far shore also reflect in the water, further enriching the blend of colors. Finally, impasto in the sky suggests sunny but slightly hazy weather conditions, contributing to a distinct sense of atmosphere in the painting.
 The canvas stamp of Paul Foinet corroborates a date in the 1890s or the first few years of the twentieth century. Foinet was an artists’ colorman in Paris from the 1870s through the 1890s. His son had taken over the business by 1903, when materials in Whistler’s studio after his death bore the inscription “P. Foinet Fils et Lefebvre.” See Will H. Low, A Chronicle of Friendships, 1873-1900 (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1908), 19-21, and Joyce H. Townsend, “Whistler’s oil painting materials,” The Burlington Magazine 136, no. 1099 (October 1994), 684, 690-96.