Christian Jorgensen (1860 – 1935), “Yosemite Valley”

1910. Oil on canvas, 42″ x 72″. Framed in a 6″ wide custom Compound Aurora No. 1100 CV with carved chamfered sight edge + hand carved No. 15 CV cap molding, in quarter sawn white oak (Medieval Oak stain) with carved gilt liner (18 kt pale gold leaf).

C. Jorgensen, “Yosemite Valley” before re-framing

San Francisco painter Christian August Jorgensen was primarily known for his watercolors, but this is a very impressive oil painting of Yosemite Valley when it was first becoming well known and visited by the general public. We can only imagine the awe experienced by folks like Jorgensen—a true experience of the sublime which so captivated painters of his time. Most would have never seen anything quite so dramatic as this (although as a native of Norway, Yosemite’s soaring cliffs might well have reminded him of home).

This painting would have been a joy to frame in any case, but was especially rewarding since we were able to liberate it from a really mediocre modern gold frame that did absolutely nothing for it (see “before” shot at right; view the before-and-after on our page Fixing “a Very Prevalent Error”). The 6″ wide Compound Aurora frame (it’s a mortise-and-tenon flat with a mitered cap molding) we made for it was inspired by the wonderful carved woodwork in the Ahwahnee Hotel at the Park. Simple geometric patterns articulate the corners and centers of the frame and the corners of the gilt liner. The frame was built up to over 2″ thick to take it to the wall and unify it with its architectural setting.