Recent Naval Paintings

Battleship USS Iowa (BB-61), and other ships and aircraft of Task Force 38, on 18 August 1945, en route to Tokyo Bay for the surrender ceremony following the end of World War II. The USS Missouri (BB-63) is directly behind her, the light cruiser USS San Diego (CL-53) off her starboard quarter, and a Gearing-class destroyer off her starboard bow.

German blockade runner MV Karin aflame from fires set by her crew before they abandoned ship, after being stopped in the South Atlantic by two units of the United States Fourth Fleet—the light cruiser USS Savannah (CL-42) and the destroyer Eberle (DD-430). A short time later, delayed-detonation scuttling charges exploded, killing all but three members of a boarding party from the Eberle attempting to salvage the vessel.

German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee during the opening phases of the Battle of the River Plate. The two water spouts off her starboard bow (left of the painting) are from 6-inch gunfire from the light cruisers HMS Ajax and HMNZS Achilles.

"Evasion of Destruction" by Richard DeRosset portrays a strafing run by three Japanese "Mavis" flying boats following their unsuccessful torpedo attack on the USS Heron (AVP-2) on 20 December 1942. Heron shot down one of the aircraft with her starboard 3-inch gun; her port gun had been disabled by earlier combat action. This final attack followed a series of earlier ones by twelve other enemy aircraft against the seaplane tender as she sailed alone in the Java Sea. Due to heroic actions by her captain and crew, Heron survived seemingly overwhelming odds during the long ordeal. This painting will be the cover art for the author's next book, titled "Eyes of the Fleet," about the U.S. Navy's seaplane tenders of World War II.

"Brutal Ambush off Wonsan" by Richard DeRosset depicts the savage attack on the USS Pueblo (AGER-2) by an overwhelming force of North Korean torpedo boats, MIG-21 fighter aircraft, and sub-chasers at 1343 on 23 January 1968. This action preceded the capture of the minimally-armed intelligence gathering ship in international waters northeast of Wonsan, off the North Korean coast. The accurate and dramatic painting was commissioned by Tom Massie, one of the eighty-two crewmembers that survived the attack and were held as prisoners of war by North Korea for eleven months.


Artist Biography

Richard DeRosset, who is known for his superb depiction of maritime scenes, is the official U.S. Coast Guard artist, the official artist for the San Diego Maritime Museum, and a professional member of the International Society of Marine Painters. His mastery as an artist is born of family heritage, extensive and diverse experience aboard vessels at sea, talent, and extensive research associated with each of his paintings. His grandmother, Lucille DeRosset, was an illustrator for Walt Disney Studios, and worked on many well-known movies including Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, and Sleeping Beauty.

Already possessing inherent but undeveloped art ability, Richard developed a love for the ocean, and related nautical and maritime subjects during a tour in the Navy. His duty aboard the destroyer USS Epperson (DD-719) and the attack transport USS Paul Revere (LPA-248) provided him unique experience of great valuable to a maritime artist, as well as great appreciation for the power and beauty of the sea. Following his four year Navy hitch, Richard continued to earn his livelihood as a mariner, initially serving as a deckhand on the fishing vessel F/V Petrel out of Fish Harbor, Long Angeles, and engaging in seasonal work on other commercial fishing boats including the Jennie M. , the Finback, and the Mark II. DeRosset gained a license as a Merchant Marine deck officer, and served as the master of the small tanker Pacific Trojan, before embarking on a career as a professional artist.

Richard has completed over eight hundred paintings and many murals, and is regarded as one of the nation's foremost marine and aviation artists. He prides himself on being a historian versed in these subjects and spends hours of intensive research into the preliminary background and detail of each of his works, all of which results in paintings of sensitive coloration and unmatched accuracy of execution.

Contained within his library at his studio near the seaport city of San Diego, California, are thousands of books as well as many ship models and other nautical artifacts. He greatly enjoys taking small, relatively unknown but important events in history and bringing them to life/preserving their memory on canvas.

His works have been commissioned by numerous museums and private collections; notably the San Diego Aerospace Museum, the Navy Combat Art Museum, and Smithsonian Institution. Richard also painted the murals for the President George H. W. Bush Gallery, located within the National Museum of the Pacific War - which have received national acclaim - and for the San Diego Veterans Museum and Memorial.

Richard's other interests and activities include frequenting coffee houses, cats, and playing the bass drum in the San Diego Portuguese Philharmonic Band and being a percussionist in the Kearny Mesa Concert Band. He also enjoys history and mystery books, and is both a member and Board Member of Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 472 in San Diego. The VVA 472 meets at the San Diego Veterans Museum and Memorial. His magnificent murals on the walls have been signed by hundreds of veterans who participated in the combat action that is vividly depicted in individual works - devoted to famous events that occurred in a variety of theaters of war - which grace its walls.