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Anders Zorn

 (1860 - 1920)
Anders Leonard Zorn was active/lived in Illinois / Sweden.  Anders Zorn is known for painting and printmaking-portraits, figure, landscape.

Anders Zorn

    TZORN  speaker-click to hear pronunciation  click to hear

Biography from the Archives of askART

Biography photo for Anders Zorn
"Anders Zorn was born the 18 February, 1860 at Mora, in Dalame, the son of a brewer from Bavaria and a Dalecarlian woman.  He was brought up as a peasant boy on the banks of Lake Siljan, and when but a small child gave evidence of his passion for art by carving wooden figures, which he colored with berry juice.

At the age of fifteen he went to Stockholm. Though he first studied sculpture at the Academy of Arts, it was as a watercolor painter that he made his initial mark.  As early as 1881 he began to travel, spending considerable time in Spain, and later residing for some years in London.

During the nineties he passed no little time at his home in Mora, upon which he has lavished his most ardent love, but he has also resided in Paris and the United States, where his breezy freshness, his spirit and dash, his inimitable blending of rusticity and elegance, and the vigor and healthy sensuality of his line and stroke readily found both enthusiastic and discriminating admirers.

Zorn may sometimes be unconvincing in his painting, but when he does succeed, he conjures up reality itself, and gives his work a definite something which recalls Frans Hals, though Zorn never tried to learn from the masters of either the seventeenth or the eighteenth centuries.

Technically he has chiefly aimed at giving proof of his supremacy as a painter of light and of
fleeting chromatic effects.  He has endeavored to reproduce that which he most loves — the fullness of life —and his personality' shines forth in every line» every patch of color."

Christian Brinton, the Catalogue for the 1912 -1913
New York, Buffalo, Toledo, Chicago and Boston

Submitted by M.D. Silverbrooke, Art Historian and Collector, West Vancouver, British Columbia


Biography from Childs Gallery
Anders Zorn, the celebrated painter and print-maker, rose from humble beginnings to become a celebrated member of the European and American upper classes.  Zorn was born out of wedlock to a German brewer and a Swedish peasant woman.  He was reared in the rural Swedish province of Dalarna, and although he later traveled extensively and took pride in his upper-class status, he never felt at home until he settled again in his native town of Mora in 1896.  In 1893, on his first trip to America, Zorn visited New York City en route to the Columbian World Exhibition in Chicago (also known as Chicago's World Fair).  The self-made artist subscribed to American values and immediately felt welcome in America.  Zorn wrote about America in his memoirs:

"I get on well in America and with Americans.  Their frank, straightforward manner suits my nature.  I've never really been able to stand our urban Europeans' ceremonious style and artificial customs.  When I first came out of Dalarna, I quickly learned that everything I knew and valued was considered nothing, and that one should never tell the truth about things in polite society.  . . . But the only rules of conduct that were so severely impressed on me by my grandfather from my earliest childhood were not so tricky; faithfulness, being true to one's word, honesty, and punctuality, virtues I discovered were unnecessary in the cities of Europe. . . Why was I more than other foreigners during [my first visit to America] closest to the elite of America and introduced in all the clubs?  Everywhere I go, I ascribe this to my grandfather, the splendid old Mora peasant who raised me until I was twelve.  . . . Over there [in America], when they say "He's all-right," all doors open to the foreigner, which Europeans cannot understand.  Openness, honesty, straightforwardness, punctuality, these things are included in the testimonial 'He's all-right.' "

While at the Chicago World's Fair, Zorn established lasting relationships with many friends and patrons, including Charles Deering, Mrs. Potter Palmer, and Isabella Stewart Gardner. According to a popular story recounted in Carrell Shaw's essay in Anders Zorn Rediscovered, Mrs. Gardner, captivated by Zorn's painting Interior of an Omnibus in Paris, turned to a man nearby and asked if it was for sale or if he knew of the artist. That man was Anders Zorn and Mrs. Gardner replied, "Yourself, indeed! Well, I feel sure we shall soon be enemies . .. or else very, very fast friends.  You shall come today for tea." 

This chance meeting initiated a long friendship and patron relationship.  In addition to the Omnibus oil painting, Zorn's outstanding portrait of Mrs. Gardner at the Palazzo Barbaro in Venice, and an impressive collection of Zorn prints were on view at The Gardner Museum in Boston. In November of 1893, the Frederick Keppel Gallery on East 16th Street in New York City held the first American exhibition of Zorn's work and ignited Zorn's popularity in this country. As evidence of his influence in America, Zorn portrayed three Presidents: Theodore Roosevelt, Grover Cleveland and William Taft.

Not only did Zorn love America, but also America loved him, and continues to do so. The artist was one of the most actively collected printmakers of the early 20th Century, and was often ranked among the world's most highly-esteemed printmakers. In 1928, the Boston Herald published an article highlighting the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston's acquisition of a collection of 110 Zorn etchings.  However, by the 1950s the artist's prints were largely neglected.

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About  Anders Zorn

Born:  1860 - Dalarna, Sweden
Died:   1920 - Stockholm, Sweden
Known for:  painting and printmaking-portraits, figure, landscape