Chris Jorgensen

Paintings in Inventory (Click on an image for a larger view)

Chris Jorgensen (1860-1935) Mission Dolores

A native of Norway, Chris Jorgensen came to San Francisco as a child. His talent for drawing earned him a scholarship at the California School of Design where he excelled as a student. A year working in an architect’s office gave him the experience that he later used to create works of art out of depictions of buildings. Already a major contributor to the San Francisco art world, in 1904 he and his wife Angela Ghirardelli Jorgensen, daughter of the chocolate manufacturer, journeyed by horse and buggy to every California mission. In 1906, he exhibited a complete set of California mission paintings at the Cosmos Club in Washington, DC, which attracted a favorable review in the Washington Herald, the critic praising them as “most interesting, from an architectural as well as artistic standpoint.” In paintings like “Mission Dolores,” Jorgensen has brought the scene to life by including figures that casually go about their business, while he also has coordinated the palette so that all the colors harmonize with each other in the same subdued tone. This strategy, along with Jorgensen’s artistic brushstrokes, make the image more emotionally appealing than a photographic transcription. This is the largest and most important of Jorgensen’s mission paintings to have been discovered to date.