Artist who loved to travel, but always found a lot of time for creativity
Anders Zorn (February 18, 1860 August 22, 1920) a famous Swedish artist of the late XIX early XX centuries, an outstanding master of portrait painting. Anders Zorn also created many paintings of nude women, landscapes and works of everyday life. The best masterpieces of his work are painted in oils, although the artist often used watercolors early in his career. The master’s biography is full of numerous travels to different countries and continents, and his merits have been repeatedly noted with prestigious awards.
Anders Zorn was a versatile creative person, in addition to painting, he was fond of art photography, engraving and sculptural art. And shortly before his death, together with his wife, the master founded a special fund and established the annual Bellman literary prize (Bellmanpriset), which is still annually awarded by the Swedish Academy to the best poet.
Biography of Anders Zorn
Anders Zorn was born on February 18, 1860 in the village of Ivraden in the province of Dalarna, located in central Sweden. He was born as a result of a love affair between his mother Grudd Anna Andersdotter and German brewer Leonard Zorn. The future artist’s parents were not married and Anders never saw his father, although he took his last name when receiving his passport.
From early childhood, the boy showed extraordinary talent for art. He loved to draw and with great pleasure carved all kinds of figures of people and animals from wood, and at first his grandfather and grandmother were engaged in the upbringing of little Anders. Until the age of twelve, he lived with them on a village family farm located near the town of Mara, where he attended elementary school.
In 1872, young Zorn moved to his mother in Enköping and in this city he studied at the local gymnasium for three years. Having reached the age of 15, Anders left for Stockholm, where he first continued his studies at the Art School, and then became a student at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Initially, he intended to become a sculptor and enthusiastically engaged in woodcarving, but soon switched to painting and began to paint with watercolors.
First taking part in an academic exhibition in 1880, the talented student immediately attracted the attention of the public and earned positive reviews from critics. Then he began to paint portraits to order and soon became very successful in this business. Thanks to his extraordinary talent, the 20-year-old became famous among influential Swedish families and began to earn good money.
Despite an excellent start to his career as a professional artist, Anders Zorn decided to leave Stockholm right after graduating from the academy. He went on a long journey through Europe, first visiting England, and then Spain and Portugal. On this trip, the painter created many beautiful paintings and completed a number of orders for the local nobility.
Returning to his homeland, Anders married the daughter of a wealthy merchant Emma Amalia Lamm in October 1885 and immediately went on a honeymoon with his young wife. The trip to Hungary was very successful for them, but during his stay in Turkey, Zorn fell ill with typhoid fever and had to lie in a hospital bed for three months.
But this incident did not in any way affect the further way of life of the artist.
For the rest of his life, he traveled a lot and, in total, spent a little less time abroad than in his native country. During a trip to the United States in 1893, Zorn made many sketches and subsequently painted a number of portraits of prominent politicians in this country, including the incumbent President Grover Cleveland. In 1897, while studying Russia, he met and became friends with Ilya Repin and Konstantin Korovin. In addition, Anders and his wife visited Italy and France, the Middle East and North Africa, Mexico and the Balkans.
Back in 1886, the artist acquired a plot of land with a cottage near his native village, where he and his wife rested and worked in between travels. Gradually, Zorn bought up neighboring plots with buildings, combining them into a single spacious country estate. Today, it houses the painter’s museum, on the territory of which there are more than 40 wooden houses of the original Swedish buildings of the 19th century.
Anders Zorn surprisingly found time to paint pictures of different genres.
His works with pictures of naked women in full growth against the backdrop of Scandinavian nature, made in a realistic style, enjoyed immense popularity. The artist also created several dozen of his own self-portraits and many works of the genre that celebrate the simple life of Swedish peasants. In addition, Anders has worked in etchings and art photography for almost 30 years. And the number of commissioned portraits written by the master of painting is in the hundreds.
During his lifetime, the brilliant master achieved worldwide recognition and was awarded orders and medals of many countries for his services in art. He was actively involved in public life in Sweden and was highly respected in the artistic environment. But on August 22, 1920, Anders Zorn died suddenly from blood poisoning in the Mora hospital. The body of the master was interred in the territory of the city cemetery, where his remains are still buried today. And the artist bequeathed his vast estate with all the lands to his native Sweden, and today there is a memorial complex-museum dedicated to the life and work of a genius.
The most famous paintings by Anders Zorn
The creative heritage of the great master includes almost three hundred etchings and more than 500 paintings. And yet, the most famous paintings by Anders Zorn are:
- Summer Delight (1886) is a wonderful watercolor work by the artist, on which he depicted his wife and friend during a vacation in his native land. The painting was sold at auction in 2010 for a record 3.35 million in Sweden.
- “Summer Dance” (1897) one of the master’s best genre works, painted in oil. It can still be used to study the life and customs of ordinary Swedish peasants of that era.
- “Portrait of King Oscar II of Sweden” (1898) a painting in which the Swedish monarch is depicted in a strict suit without official regalia and vestments. Already far from a young ruler, he calmly sits in an armchair, and his gaze is directed into the distance.
- “Portrait of US President Grover Cleveland” (1898) is a masterpiece in which a prominent American politician appears before the audience in moments of rest from government affairs in his office.
Anders Zorn made a huge contribution to the development of Swedish art and is rightfully considered the greatest master of painting of his era in his homeland. And his brilliant works still make millions of viewers admire the talent of the great Scandinavian artist.