Wednesday, September 24, 2008

"Pacific Coast Scenes" by Jorgensen

Christian A. Jorgensen (1860-1935)
“Pacific Coast Scenes”
Supplement to the Christmas edition of The Wasp
San Francisco: 1884, Bosqui Eng. & Print Co.
35” x 43” framed

Born in Oslo, Norway, Jorgensen moved to San Francisco with his mother in 1870. He showed artist promise at an early age, and was among the first students to enroll in the School of Design when it opened in 1874. While at art school Jorgensen was greatly influenced by his instructor and artist Virgil Williams, whom was both a mentor and father figure to Jorgensen. Jorgensen later became an instructor at the School of Design and served as assistant director from 1881-1883. He then established a studio at 131 Post Street in San Francisco, and by the mid 1880s had a successful career as a landscape painter. He was also a member of the Bohemian Club from 1899-1904.

For five years, Jorgensen and his wife traveled by horse and buggy to the sites of the 21 California missions, producing watercolor studies of the missions and a complete set of oils. A lithograph collage of these views, “Pacific Coast Scenes,” was published as a supplement to The Wasp in 1884. Included were views of San Francisco, Monterey, Santa Barbara, Lake Merritt (Oakland), Lake Lagunitas, Guerneville, Lakeport and the Hetch Hetchy Valley. The Wasp was a late 19th century weekly satire newspaper founded by Francis Korbel. It was unique for its production of color lithograph prints, a process Korbel had mastered in his previous business of manufacturing cigar box labels.

In 1899, Jorgensen pitched a tent in Yosemite and after several months obtained a permit to build a studio home there. He would continue painting there for the next 19 years during the warmer months (his Yosemite home is now the headquarters for the Government Rangers). In 1905 he built a boulder home in Carmel (now the site of the Hotel La Playa) where he and his wife Angela lived for a few years, though most of his time was spent at his family home in Piedmont. Jorgensen enjoyed a long career and continued painting until his death in 1935. Jorgensen’s work is held in the collections of the Yosemite Museum and the Bohemian Club.

For more information, please contact Arader Galleries at 415.788.5115.

Art International Pasadena Show: Postponed

The Art International Pasadena / Los Angeles show scheduled for October 31sr - November 2nd, 2008 has been postponed until March 12th -15th, 2009.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Rococo engravings by Jacques Charton

In the early 18th century, France turned away from imperial aspirations to focus on more personal and pleasurable pursuits. As political life and private morals relaxed, the change was mirrored by a new style in art, one that was more intimate, and decorative.

Louis XIV's desire to glorify his dignity and the magnificence of France had been well served by the monumental and formal qualities of most seventeenth-century French art. But members of the succeeding court began to decorate their elegant homes in a lighter, more delicate manner. This new style has been known since the last century as "rococo," from the French word, rocaille, for rock and shell garden ornamentation. First emerging in the decorative arts, the rococo emphasized pastel colors, sinuous curves, and patterns based on flowers, vines, and shells. Painters turned to the sensual surface delights of color and light, and from weighty religious and historical subjects to more intimate scenes.

These original hand-colored engravings from a collection of fifty-nine from Jacques Charton’s, Collection de plantes etrangeres en fleurs, fruits, corail et coquillages are splendid examples of the French decorative arts produced in Paris in 1784, just previous to the French Revolution. These lovely engravings, most likely executed for porcelain designs, show a variety of exotic natural history subjects, mainly flowering plants and shells, accompanied by animals or insects, some with accompanying background vignettes. The style of representation ranges from the mildly stylized but naturalistic to the intensely fantastical, verging on the surreal such as, a selection of "fruits of the sea" hanging from the branches of a plant emerging from a seashell. This style would soon give way to one that adhered to the austerity and democratic spirit of the revolutionaries at the end of the century.

A full catalog of images from this exceedingly rare and aesthetically beautiful suite of engravings is available at your request.