"Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”
_ William Morris
, 19th century craftsman, designer, writer


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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

At Home With Art: Dorte Christjansen

Stepping into artist, Dorte Christjansen's home in Southern California is like entering an art gallery -one filled with life, charm, beauty and discovery.

Since the best home decor reflects personal taste, life experiences, memories and passions -you only need to cross the threshold to understand what makes Dorte tick.

Born into a Danish legacy of art and married to sculptor, Stephen Werlick, her work and her life are inseparable.


The downstairs entryway showcases a stairwell hung with bronze and wooden sculpture, relief work, pencil sketches, oil paintings and watercolors Dorte and Stephen created in Europe. Dorte says sometimes the couple would be driving through a particularly picturesque area and they would stop to paint what they saw. 

Below, vases the late sculptor made from the bark of palm trees in their yard. Dorte says Werlick was always looking at things and seeing the potential for what they 'could be'. Sounds to me like a wonderful way to live. 


 The statuesque wooden lady is the first to greet guests as they enter. She stands about ten feet tall with generous, beautifully wrought proportions.

  
A gallery wall of framed art includes a large oil painting of Dorte's brother (age 2), painted by her grandfather, celebrated Danish artist, Rasmus Christiansen. 

Dorte's oil painting of her stepdaughter, Eve, (bottom left) was a Christmas gift for Stephen to commemorate the loss of Eve's two front teeth. Kind of like the song, "All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth..." -except in oils...


A sketch of Dorte as a child overlooks an entryway table of artwork that includes her own pieces as well as those of family, friends, and students.



Dorte's colorful watercolor bouquet graces the entry. Next to it, Werlick's bronze model castings for the Holocaust memorial erected at Temple Judea in Southern California.



On the stairway, a wooden sculpture poses beside Werlick's carving of a Shakespearean quote from As you Like It:

Sweet are the uses of adversity; Which like the toad, ugly and venomous, wears yet a precious jewel in his head; And this our life, exempt from public haunt, finds tongues in trees, books in running brooks, sermons in stones, and good in every thing.


And this is just the art you see when you first walk in...more to come...

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