John H. Rockwell was a prolific Los Angeles, California based
Impressionist painter and palette knife artist. When he was very young, Rocky studied with Jose Clemente
Orozco in Mexico, and perfected his pallet-knife technique under his tutelage.
He was stationed in France during World War II and
later studied there, learning the skills of French Impressionism. Later he lived in a large home with a spacious garden
in a Los Angeles Central neighborhood that slowly became an African-American
enclave. Rather than move away as many of his white neighbors did,
Rocky remained in that district, where he began to paint portraits of his new
neighbors. Rocky was perhaps the first white Los Angelino artist to
paint African-American subjects.
"Rocky," as he was known to his
friends, was represented by the prestigious Felix Landau Gallery, at that time
the most prominent art gallery in Los Angeles. Mr. Landau was the first
to mount exhibitions of works by Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiel on the West Coast,
and also sponsored major exhibitions by Henry Moore, Picasso, Francis Bacon, as
well as first showings by Los Angeles artists Sam Francis, Paul Wonner, and
Richard Diebenkorn. John H. Rockwell was included in that company.
He died in Los Angeles in the
(We are grateful for the detailed information provided by Mr. Stathis Orphanos for this biographical background of Mr. Rockwell.)