Last updated: October 2, 2014
Offering art lessons and opening his own art studio in San Francisco, Jorgensen met and instructed an aspiring and talented young student. Her name, Angela Ghirardelli, evokes even today the image of the thriving chocolate and confectionary empire that her father built. Initially, the wealthy Ghirardelli family forbade the attention and courting that both Chris Jorgensen and Angela desired. Eventually, her father Domingo Ghirardelli, after the death of his wife, blessed the union between the two. In the following years, when Domingo desired to return to his homeland of Italy to live out his remaining years, Chris and Angela Jorgensen accompanied him. During these years spent in the thriving artistic community of Italy, Jorgensen strengthened and developed his painting style.
Unencumbered by financial worries after his marriage to Angela, Chris Jorgensen built a summer studio in Yosemite Valley to paint in watercolors and oils the images of the Park that we now treasure. Many art critics suggest that his best work was when he worked with watercolors "en plein air" instead of the more ponderous traditional oil medium popular at the time. Jorgensen's studio was a social and artistic hub for many visitors to Yosemite, including President Theodore Roosevelt. Chris and Angela with their two children spent portions of their year in Yosemite, Carmel-by-the-Sea, Pebble Beach, and also Piedmont, California.
One could contemplate the influence that marrying into the Ghirardelli family had on the life of Chris Jorgensen. Not only did Jorgensen then have the freedom to paint what inspired him, but he also had the opportunity to eat delightful chocolate!