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Chris Jorgensen

Paintings in Inventory

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A Bit of Country Road

Artist's Biography

Chris Jorgensen was born in Norway and emigrated in 1870 to San Francisco at age ten with his widowed mother. As a teenager, Jorgensen started to make plein air watercolor sketches of local scenery, and these came to the attention of Virgil Williams, the Director of the School of Design. Impressed by Jorgensen's talent, Williams arranged a scholarship for the boy, who did so well as a student that he was hired as an instructor upon completion of his course of study. In 1888 he married his pupil Angela Ghirardelli, the chocolate heiress and thereafter could follow the whims of his genius without having to worry about making a living. Jorgensen became fascinated by early California history, eventually launching into a sketching tour of the missions. Our painting depicts a remnant of pioneer life that was rapidly being superseded by the advent of modern living at the end of the nineteenth century. The old wagon road and tumbledown picket fence evoke memories of a more primitive time when the first settlers struggled to survive in the wilderness. A Jorgensen painting "A Bit of Country Road" was sold out of the Bohemian Club exhibition of 1897 (San Francisco Chronicle, Dec. 12, 1897). The following year he sent a painting to the Bohemian Club titled "Road in Mill Valley," which may give us a clue as to our painting’s location.

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