Christine Rosamond Benton – Wikipedia

christine-1986-garth-drew

I have changed the Wikipedia entry of my late sister.

Jon Presco born John Gregory Presco

 

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 while composing her immensely popular portraits of beautiful and fierce women.[2] Some of Rosamond’s more noticeable pieces are “Blue Ice”, “Autumn”, and “Denim and Silk.” Rosamond’s public works have sold in the millions,[1] and have outsold prolific artists Norman Rockwell, and Salvador Dalí. Rosamond experienced a meteoric rise to fame and created a major name for herself in the art industry by the age of 25 when it was practically unheard of for a woman to gain such notoriety in the art scene.[3]

Early life[edit source]

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. All six members of this creative family suffered from alcoholism. Christine drowned on her first sober birthday in AA. She had followed her brother, John Gregory Presco, into recovery. Rosamond famously followed in John’s footsteps. Their parents were selfish alcoholics who did not contribute to their children’s gifts. John is a writer and blogger. Quite often, Vic and Rosemary failed to feed their children. John was Christine’s protector – and teacher! She looked up to him, and they adored each other. 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. John and his friend, Bill Arnold, formed a creative bond when they were twelve. As artists, writers, and poets they emulated the relationship of Jack London, and George Serling. Growing up in Oakland, they considered themselves Bohemians. 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’ Seyburne and Berry Zorthian became close friends of the famous Prankster, Nancy Hamren, who dated Stanley Augustus Owsley, and lived in ‘The Idol Hands’ commune. Betty Zorthian paid the rent. Nancy went to Junior High with John, and went on double dates with Rosamond, who did not paint or draw.

Victor William Presco was born in San Francisco. His grandparents were Forty-Eighters, and were neighbors and friends of Joaquin Miller. Vic’s grandfather, Wensel Anton Prescowitz, immigrated from Bohemia. This was a radical family. Rosemary Rosamond was was one of three beautiful daughters born to Mary Magdalene Rosamond, and Royal Rosamond, a writer and poet, who published short stories in Out West magazine. He published two books, Ravloa of Thunder Mountain and ‘Born In This Clay. He was a good friend of the Ozark Historian, Otto Rayburn. Frank Wesley Rosamond was also a Friend of Erle Stanley Gardner, and Dashiell Hammett.They would sail out to the Channel Islands with other members of the Black Mask. When Bill Arnold moved in with the Prescos as the age of sixteen, Christine fell in love with him. She had a secret crush on this brilliant young man that died at the age of nineteen. He was hit by a train, at a crossing. In one of her works, Rosamond put herself in a car on a rail crossing. ‘The Crossing’ is full of portent. Why Rosamond put herself and her nine year old daughter, Drew Benton, in danger at Rocky Point, remains a mystery. Growing up on San Sebastian Avenue in Oakland, the four Presco Children raised themselves and each other. These were the Happy Days The eldest child, Mark Presco, was into electronics. He would put a speaker in our pumpkins, and installed a makeshift intercom. It was a children’s Renaissance. After seeing the large portrait John did of his muse, Rena Easton, Christine took up art in 1972 in order to support herself and her young daughter, Shannon Rosamond.

Career beginnings[edit source]

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 groups ‘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. According to the Rosamond genealogist, Liz and Christine share the same grandfather, James Rosamond, who along with his brother, Samual Rosamond, fought in the War of Independence.

Rosemary and her sister, Lilian, dated Errol Flynn in their teens. This was the claim to fame for the Presco children. Attending minor art classes at UCLA saw her career begin to rise in 1972 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 a empty canvas. Never the less, 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. This was the age of posters and album art. Artists like Peter Max and Mucha accompanied the Rock and Roll era. Inexpensive posters decorated the homes of the Hip and the Yuppie middle class. There was a gentrification of the Hippie Bohemian movement. A Rosamond print was a ticket to the new affluence. Young Liberated Women were getting married and giving birth to children. The gaze of a Rosamond Woman hanging on one’s wall, grounded these young mothers, who also collected the images of the Presco grandchildren. ‘Garden Child’ is Cean Presco, the son of Mark Presco. There was a change in the look of mannequinn. The influence of the fashionable Rosamond Women was seen all over the world. Nothing like this had occurred before. Serious artists were threatened.

Several Rosamond imitators put their beautiful women on the market, looking to cash in on this Rosy success. Christine offered to teach her brother, John, her style, but, he turned her down. This is when Rosamond sought to be seen as a Fine Artist, whose work may hopefully hang in a museum one day. But, her fixation on healing her family, created a un-healthy focus. Rosamond formed several family partnerships, and even though she could have lived anywhere in the world, and mingled with creative people, as is often the case with dysfunctional families, there were chains that bind. Rosamond’s efforts to break free of these chains and destructive influences, led her to sue Ira Cohen for exploitation. Ira came to pick up her weekly work, never telling her the Japanese loved Rosamond’s big eyes that were making him millions. As a profound coincidence, Christine’s uncle, Jim Bigalow – who owned Sam’s Anchor Cafe in Tiberon – was a good friend of Walter and Margaret Keane. Jim owned several works done by Margaret. At the Bigalow dinner table, Walter took all the credit.

Rise to fame[edit source]

Though Christine saw massive success during her time working for Ira Cohen, she also felt as though her work was being devalued as she believed her art belonged in galleries and not simply on merchandise at the mall, where poster shops flourished. 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. With the enormous sales of Christine’s lithographs, and her posters, she became the most published artist in the world, eclipsing even the likes of Norman Rockwell, Salvador Dali, and Alexander Calder, artists who entered the infamous Lithograph craze, that were peddled as investments. The common people were now players in the Art World. Though this level of fame would never be reached again by Christine throughout her career, Rosamond would continue to paint and release images as lithographs under the banner of her own company in order 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. Rick was pushing a script about his traumatic past. Rosamond would later marry, Garth Benton, the cousin of the muralist and artist, Thomas Hart Benton, the teacher and friend of Jackson Pollack. Jirayr Zorthian was influenced by Thomas Benton. The Zorthian family is in the process of locating Jirayr’s murals. Add to this the art of Philip Boilleau, then you have an Artistic Family Dynasty as put forth by John, the family historian, in his blog Royal Rosamond Press. Rosamond’s popular career led the way for Twitter and Facebook, even Wikipedia. The Mass Mind is worth billions. Everyone can buy in for next to nothing. Our culture is for free. The worth of anything has entered a New Zone. With the mass ownership of a personal computer, a fashionable woman can surf the internet and find one beautiful woman after another, women with a certain look who best typify their fashionable and creative choice. You too can be a ‘Rose of the World’. She is our creation. Before Rosamond took up art, she loved to sew and make her own clothing. She was the model in some of her work. This is key to understanding her work. Many women were caught up in the Rosamond fashion show, and her style they emulated. Did Christine want to be a fashion designer when she was a teenager?

Death[edit source]

Just weeks after Christine’s final art expo in 1994, she was invited to stay in a famous home twenty miles south of Carmel at Rocky Point. There are no tide-pools at this very dangerous place. Christine knew where to go tide-pooling, where it was safe for mother and child. As reported in the Carmel Pinecone, Rosamond had nightmares about a giant wave causing her demise. It was high tide with gusty winds when Rosamond was swept out to sea and drowned on March 26, 1994 at the young age of 46. Rosamond was very protective of her eight year old daughter, Drew. Christine’s three hundred page autobiography, has vanished. Very few of her words, exist.

Personal life[edit source]

As stated numerous times by those who still seek to know monetary gain, Christine Rosamond Benton, struggled to rise above the crass commercialism that opened the stage to her money-making career. Her success – was overnight! She didn’t have time to form an artistic identity. She will be placed among the Pre-Raphaelite Brother and Sisterhood. This is what she wanted. Garth and Christine were also kin to Susan Boilleau, the daughter of Senator Thomas Hart Benton, and sister-in-law of John Fremont the first Presidential candidate of the Republican Party he co-founded. The Fremonts held a salon in San Francisco attended by Mark Twain, and Bret Harte. Susan held a salon in Paris. Her son, Philip Boilleau, rendered beautiful women who resemble Rosamond’s women. They graced the cover of famous magazines. Christine did not know this.

Garth was a famous muralist and friend of Gordon Getty. How these clusters of creative souls gather together, in a family, or in a group, is a profound study that defies an answer. Drew Benton is an artist that is coming into her own. Her half-sister, Shannon Rosamond, is also an artist. Garth Benton passed away in April of 2012. He had cancer. His clients were some of the most famous people in America. His murals grace the homes of Hollywood stars. Garth did the murals at the Getty Villa. The beautiful models that compliment the life of the President Elect, will be a study about the influence beautiful women have in all aspects of our life.

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About Royal Rosamond Press

I am an artist, a writer, and a theologian.
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