Paul Clark Rockwood

Paul Rockwood, oil painting, Virginia City
Paul Rockwood, oil painting, Virginia City
Paul Rockwood, oil painting, Virginia City
Paul Rockwood, oil painting, Virginia City

Paul Clark Rockwood


St. Mary’s Church in the Mountains, Virginia City, c.1930s

  • Oil on canvas

  • Canvas: 22.5” high x 32" wide

  • Frame: 27.75” high x 37.75” wide

  • Signature: Faintly inscribed on lower right

Click image to enlarge.

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About the work

Paul Clark Rockwood was a resident of San Francisco in the 1930s, affording him opportunity to visit Virginia City where he painted this remarkable scene of St. Mary’s Church. Such true-to-life historic paintings of Virginia City from this period are extremely scarce. 

Rockwood was a graphic artist, printmaker and lithographer. He created works of art during the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in the 1930s and became the head of the art department of the Western Museum Laboratories (WMA), formerly the National Park Service Field Division of Education. As an artist of WMA, he prepared illustrations, maps, models, dioramas for museum exhibits. His background in the necessity to ensure historic and architectural accuracy is clearly evident in his depiction of Virginia City. 

In 1950 Rockwood worked as a Museum Construction Specialist on the Museum Development Program at Hawaii National Park. While working at the park, he painted dramatic scenes of Hawaii’s most notable geographic sites that now reside in the collection of the National Park Service. He also painted Mount Mazama which resides at the Crater Lake National Park Museum, and completed drawings of early transportation on the western rivers held at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. His work was exhibited at the De Young Museum in San Francisco, California in 1939.

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