Desert Watercolor by Howell Rosenbaum P677

A beautiful watercolor with brightly colored desert chaparral and a small grouping of houses. Set in a wonderfully carved wood frame.

Framed 24″ x 20″.

The expressionist painter and Judeo-Mormon artist, Howell Rosenbaum, was one of Utah’s great colorists.  He began drawing and painting when he took a class in high school from Lura Redd.  In his high school years, he purchased a Model T Ford. Often, Howell and his brother, Paul, traveled into the local canyons where Paul fished and Howell painted.  Howell graduated from Box Elder High School in 1926.

Rosenbaum’s father and grandfather owned a successful mercantile business in Brigham City.  Howell’s father was not supportive of his son’s desire to become an artist.  He told Howell to get a “real job” because he could never make a living painting.  Following his father’s advice, Howell worked as a newspaper boy, as a delivery boy and wrapper in a bakery, and as a section crewman for the Union Pacific Railroad.  However, during these years he continued to paint.

Finally, in 1931, he enrolled at Utah State Agricultural College at Logan, where he studied with Calvin Fletcher.  With Fletcher’s help, Howell’s natural talent began to flourish.  He began painting canvases of vibrant color.  During the Great Depression, the Works Projects Administration (WPA) paid artists according to the number of paintings they painted.  It was during these years that Rosenbaum was at his creative prime, and many of his finest paintings were done during these Depression years.

Rosenbaum attended the American Artists School in New York City from 1938 to 1941.  However, he considered his study in New York a waste of time because he did not feel the teachers helped him understand what he needed to know.  Howell returned to Utah in 1941 and began teaching at the Utah Art Center.  He also opened an art studio in Ogden, Utah.

Howell served in the U.S. Navy during World War II from 1942-1945.  He was a mural and sign painter in the navy and produced about 200 watercolors and pastels during those years.  He then returned to Utah in 1945 and again opened an art studio in Ogden, where he did portrait paintings.

Rosenbaum had an odd, whimsical, unconventional personality, and people often misunderstood him. He had low self-esteem and so was his own worst critic. He often pushed people away with an offending comment. Those who knew him best, however, saw a tender-hearted person. His paintings, which are warm and alive, show this side of his personality.  His work is emotional, direct, bold, and colorful.

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