The German-born painter Frederick Ferdinand Schafer immigrated to the United States in 1876, settling in San Francisco. Schafer traveled throughout the region, painting the scenery of Northern California, the Pacific Northwest, and British Columbia. He had an affinity for majestic landscapes, particularly snowcapped mountains and striking natural wonders: he painted nearly fifty views of Mount Shasta and seventy of the Yosemite Valley.
Here Schafer depicts “Profile Rock,” a formation resembling an old man above the Truckee River in Northern California. This unusual landmark appears on stereoviews showing the terrain along the Central Pacific Railroad route. It is not known whether it was Schafer himself or a later owner of this work who dubbed the rock “Old Roscoe.”