1884 Jorgensen Vignettes of California, 'Pacific Coast Scenes'

Pacific Coast Scenes Supplement to the Christmas Wasp 1884. - Main View

1884 Jorgensen Vignettes of California, 'Pacific Coast Scenes'


Fin de Siecle San Francisco.


Pacific Coast Scenes Supplement to the Christmas Wasp 1884.
  1884 (dated)     19.25 x 26.5 in (48.895 x 67.31 cm)


A scarce set of vignettes by the acclaimed California painter Christian Jorgensen, published as a supplement to the 1884 Christmas edition of The Wasp, an illustrated satirical news magazine. Focusing on San Francisco and environs, it reinforces the conception Californians hold of their homeland as a land of romance, excitement, and stunning natural beauty.
A Closer Look
Twenty-two scenes are displayed across the sheet. At center is a view of Market Street in San Francisco, set in a baroque frame, looking eastwards, to where the iconic San Francisco Ferry Building would be constructed the following decade. The lively setting includes pedestrians, horseback riders, horse-drawn carriages, omnibuses or horsecars, and, in the foreground, a cable car of the Market Street Railroad Company, owned by Leland Stanford and his associates.

Additional views of sites in San Francisco include Union Square, Ocean Beach and the Cliff House, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco's Chinatown, views of the bay, and the city's magnificent new city hall - which took 27 years to construct (1870 - 1897), only to be destroyed in the 1906 earthquake and fire. Other views focus on sites close to San Francisco, such as Mt. Tamalpais, Point Tiburon, San Lorenzo, and Lake Merritt, while a handful range as far north as Humboldt County and as far south as Santa Barbara (the old Spanish missions were a favorite subject for Jorgensen).
Publication History and Census
These views or scenes were drawn by Christian (Chris) Jorgensen, printed by Bosqui Eng. and Print Co., and published as a supplement to the 1884 Christmas edition of The Wasp. In the upper-left, the sheet's provenance is indicated by a stamp of the Oakland Free Library. This work is included in a collection of lithographs held by the Bancroft Library at the University of California Berkeley (OCLC 19878308), its only known institutional holding. It only rarely appears on the market.

There was at least one antecedent to this sheet, titled 'Scenes on the Pacific Coast,' published as a supplement to the 1880 Christmas issue of The Wasp, based on photographs and sketches by artist Charles Frederick Keller. It is worth noting that, at the time the present work was published, The Wasp was edited by the great satarist Ambrose Bierce (1842 - c. 1914).


Christian August Jorgensen (October 7, 1860 - June 24, 1935), more often known as Chris Jorgensen, was a Norwegian-born painter known for his landscapes and depictions of the American West. When Jorgensen's father died of tuberculosis, his mother moved the family to San Francisco, where her brother had already emigrated. Jorgensen was discovered as a youth by Virgil Williams, who became the first director of the San Francisco School of Design. Williams and Thomas Hill became Jorgensen's mentors and left an imprint on his style, informed by classical European styles and more recent impressionism. He was also heavily influenced by the epic, sweeping landscapes of the American West painted by Albert Bierstadt. Williams made Jorgensen an instructor at his new school, where Jorgensen met and married Angela Ghirardelli, heiress to the extremely successful chocolatier. Jorgensen was distinctive in that he painted in watercolor as opposed to the more common oil. He was especially known for his depictions of Yosemite, where he maintained a studio, and of the former Spanish missions of California. More by this mapmaker...

Edward Bosqui (1832–1917) was a Canadian artist and printer, and patron of the arts based in San Francisco, California. He was born in Montreal and came to California in 1850; his early training is obscure, but he founded the Bosqui Engraving and Printing Company in 1863, to some success until misfortune struck in the destruction of his business by fire in 1893, and of the burning of his home in 1897. Bosqui helped organize the San Francisco Art Association in 1871. Learn More...


Good. Wear along original folds. Backed on old linen. Some wear and flaking along edge, especially at bottom-right.


Part of OCLC 19878308. University of California Berkeley Bancroft Library, BANC PIC 1963.002:0814--D.