Christine Rosamond

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BornChristine Rosamond Presco
(1947-10-24)October 24, 1947
Oakland, California
DiedMarch 26, 1994(1994-03-26) (aged 46)
Big Sur, California
Known forPainting, etching, lithography
Spouse(s)Garth Benton

Christine Rosamond (October 24, 1947 – March 26, 1994),[1] who became known by her middle name, Rosamond, was an American artist known for her paintings, watercolors, etchings, lithographs, and acrylics. Born Christine Rosamond Presco in 1947, she is best known for her use of negative space and the predominance of women in her pictures.[2] Some of Rosamond's most familiar pieces are "Blue Ice", "Autumn", and "Denim and Silk." At one time, Rosamond's public works sold in the millions,.[1] In the early 1970s, when Rosamond's name was a household word, it was extremely unusual for a woman to rise to this kind of prominence in the art scene.[3]

Early life[edit]

Christine Rosamond was born in Vallejo, California to Victor and Rosemary Presco on October 24, 1947. Rosamond was the third of four children who grew up in an extremely dysfunctional household. Both parents were alcoholics, and all four children eventually became alcoholics. Christine and her brother John later joined Alcoholics Anonymous. Quite often, Vic and Rosemary failed to feed their children. John's artwork was chosen twice to tour the world in a Red Cross show, when he was thirteen, and again when he was sixteen. Christine and John were pioneers in the Hippie Movement. They lived in a famous commune with the daughters of Jirayr Zorthian, who has been titled 'The Last Bohemian'. After seeing the large portrait John did of his muse, Rena Easton, Christine took up art in 1972 to support herself and her young daughter, Shannon Rosamond.

Career beginnings[edit]

In 1964, Christine accompanied her brother and his friend, Bryan MacLean on the Monday Night Art Walks on La Cienaga Blvd. John and Bryan were the school artists at University High School in West Los Angeles. Bryan and Christine were lovers. Bryan was a roadie for the Byrds when he was seventeen. He would later play with the famous rock group 'Love'. On these walks, Rosamond learned much about art, and how galleries operated. Bryan knew the Hollywood crowd. His father was an architect for the stars. He designed Elizabeth Rosemond Taylor's home.

Attending minor art classes at UCLA, Christine saw her career begin to rise when her then-husband, Scott Hale, encouraged Christine to display her paintings at the 1972 Westwood Art Fair. Priscilla Presley bought one her works which got the attention of Ira Cohen, who owned Ira Roberts Gallery located on North Robertson Blvd. Ira purchased all of her work and commissioned Rosamond to complete a painting for him on a weekly basis. Being a single mother, this was a hard contract to meet. Rosamond purchased a projector, and according to her ex-husband, Garth Benton, she employed images of models she cut out from fashion magazines, then, broadcast them on an empty canvas. Nevertheless, her immense talent, combined with the climate of the era and the 1970s feminist zeitgeist, Rosamond sold millions of her paintings to women and men everywhere. A Rosamond print was a symbol of affluence.

Rise to fame[edit]

Though Christine saw massive success during her time working for Ira Cohen, she also felt as though her work was being devalued; she believed her art belonged in galleries and not simply on merchandise. In an attempt to elevate her work from poster to fine art, Christine began a working relationship with the art printer Jack Solomon, who owned Circle Gallery in San Francisco. Solomon commissioned painters for lithographs, and in this environment where Christine's art was not only appreciated but celebrated, Christine experienced her most meteoric rise to fame of her young career. For a brief period, she was known as "the most published artist in the world."[4] She continued to paint and release images as lithographs under the banner of her company to keep artistic control. Rosamond spent four months in Paris where she completed four new lithographs with the prestigious Atelier Mourlot.

Christine had a falling out with John when he met with her new husband, Rick Partlow, who was an actor who won a Grammy for his foley work. Rosamond would later marry, Garth Benton, the cousin of the muralist and artist, Thomas Hart Benton, the teacher, and friend of Jackson Pollack.


Just weeks after Christine's last art expo in 1994, she was invited to stay in a famous home twenty miles south of Carmel at Rocky Point. As reported in the Carmel Pinecone, Rosamond had had nightmares about a giant wave causing her demise. On March 26, 1994, Rosamond was exploring tidal pools in a cove along with her sister and eight-year-old daughter, Drew. A rogue wave, unusual for that time of year, rushed into the cove. The sister was able to save the child, but Rosamond was swept out to sea. She was 46.[4]

Further reading[edit]

  • Lynch, Julie (2010-03-27). Rosamond: A Complete Catalogue Raisonne, 1947-1994. Illustrations by Christine Rosamond. Rosamond Publishing. ISBN 978-0615359892.
  • Snyder, Tom (2000-09-05). When You Close Your Eyes. Rosamond Publishing. ISBN 978-0972517508.


  1. ^ a b Watson, Lisa (2015-07-06). Legendary Locals of Carmel-by-the-Sea. Arcadia Publishing. p. 30. Retrieved 2016-05-24.
  2. ^ McGowan, William (2012). All I Need to Know About Life I Learned in the Garden of Eden. p. 163. Retrieved 2016-05-24.
  3. ^ "Jack Keller: The Art of Christine Rosamond".
  4. ^ a b Lisa Crawford Watson, Legendary Locals of Carmel-by-the-Sea (Arcadia, 2015), p. 30.

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