Albert Thomas DeRome (1885 – 1959)

Born in Cayucos, California, Albert De Rome became a California landscape painter, especially of natural landscapes formations, seascapes and marine scenes near Carmel and Monterey. Usually his palette was bright in both oil and watercolor, but he did the occasional nocturne. Scholars have compared his painting style and subjects to those of Thomas Hill and Albert Bierstadt. However, Albert De Rome never affiliated with any formal group of painters, although he had many close friends including Percy Gray, Gunnar Widforss and Will Sparks.

As a young man, Thomas De Rome worked at the Congress Spring Hotel in Saratoga, and in San Francisco at the Globe Foundry, owned by an uncle. He studied art under Arthur Mathews, John Stanton and Lorenzo Latimer at the Mark Hopkins Institute in San Francisco. Early in his career, he became known for political cartoons for the San Jose Mercury News. This job was followed by work in an advertising firm, J. Chas. Green Company, for whom he created billboards, signs and posters. During this time he began painting small oil and watercolor landscapes at the Oakland Estuary. He sketched landscapes with William Keith, Percy Gray, Frank Moore, and Gunnar Widforss, and from 1915 to 1931, made many painting expeditions to Nevada, Arizona and throughout California. During that time he was also representing as a traveling sales manager George Haas and Sons, a candy company that had been one of his commercial art clients.

A serious head-on-collision in 1931 during one of those trips ended his professional career. He was hospitalized for eight months, and it took years for him to fully recuperate. Although he recovered his ability to paint, his agreement with his insurance company prevented him from selling his paintings. So he gave away one painting a month for thirty years. He also won many “amateur” awards for his impressionist, luminous landscapes, coastals and seascapes including six first prizes at the Monterey County Fair between 1939 and 1947. Meanwhile, he moved to Pacific Grove with his wife and their teen-age son, and he did much painting at Point Lobos Reserve and other places around Monterey Bay. He turned mostly to oils because his arms did not have the reflexes for watercolors, and gradually as his left arm got stronger, he painted larger and larger paintings. He had the habit of recording on the backs of his paintings the names of the people who commented positively about the work, and many of his paintings had long lists. He died in Carmel on July 31, 1959.

Sources: Edan Hughes, Artists in California, 1786-1940

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