John H. Rockwell

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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 early 1960's.

(We are grateful for the detailed information provided by Mr. Stathis Orphanos for this biographical background of Mr. Rockwell.)


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