Anders Zorn - Paris years

Anders Zorn (1860-1920) was a Swedish painter, etcher and sculptor. He had the chance of being quite successful already during his lifetime. He travelled a lot, visited the US several times and even made official and unofficial portraits of some presidents, Cleveland, Taft and Th. Roosevelt.

He was a great portraitist and obviously made a fortune in painting royalty, presidents, nobility and members of the “high society”. But he also portrayed himself, his wife Emma, family members, friends, artists … and a lot from his native “Dalecarlia” in Sweden, including a lot of nudes.  

Zorn made some 289 etchings. Often we can see “duplicates” – a painting and an etching of the same motif.  

Still travelling a lot and frequently returning to Sweden, he had a fixed address in Paris 1889-1896. His address was on Boulevard de Clichy, more or less in front of the “Moulin Rouge”. (I included a picture of the “Moulin Rouge” around 1890.)

He had some immediate success, was awarded the French Legion of Honour in 1889 – at the age of 29, was asked to paint his self-portrait for the Uffizi Gallery in Florence (the one from 1889 above) …

During his Paris time he hardly produced any street views. There are some paintings and etchings of a Paris "Omiibus" and of a Montmartre prostitute in red – “Night Effect”. 

But he made a number of portraits – paintings and etchings – of some of the local celebrities like Paul Verlaine, Auguste Rodin (made later – 1906), Antonin Proust (journalist and politician, portrayed also by Manet, Rodin..), the actor Coquelin Cadet, the baritone singer Jean-Baptiste Faure (art collector who bought a large number of Manet  paintings especially and it was probably in one of his homes that Zorn could meet Gounod, Maupassant, Degas, Monet…), Ernest Renan (philosopher, historian, writer), Anatole France (poet, journalist, novelist), Marcellin Berthelot (chemist and politician)…


Harriet said...

Great post! Thanks for all the information. Anders Zorn also painted a great portrait of Isabella Stewart Gardner that now hangs in the Gardner Museum in Boston. (The robot verify included "Mt. Pleasant" - the name of a suburb near Charleston where I used to live and "Virginia" - our dear friend from Alabama. What a coincidence!)

Christine said...

A very informative post, thank you. As I have just started sketching and exploring various mediums I found this post very informative and a subject for research. We often go up to Montmartre when we are over in Paris but I never knew about Anders Zorn.
We will be over in April and have to go to Montmartre so will take the opportunity to explore a bit more!!
Thank you again

Anonymous said...

As Peter tell us, Anders Zorn was very successful with his art in the United States. He did portraits of many famous people, among them Bertha Palmer, the Chicago socialite, who with her husband Potter Palmer opened the still famous and popular hotel, Palmer House.

Mrs. Palmer was the best friend of Mary Cassatt, the Pennsylvania heiress, who together with Berthe Morisot were the only women founders of Impressionism.

Mary Cassatt was the great love and soul mate of Edgar Degas. Degas was half American, his mother and her family were prominent citizens of New Orleans.

Another subject of Zorn for a beautiful portrait was a brilliant American pianist, Clarence Barker. Barker’s portrait was painted in London. Clarence Barker was the grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt and the son of Smith Barker and Katherine Vanderbilt. He was a graduate of Magdalen College in Cambridge, England and of the Frankfort Conservatory of Music.

Anders Zorn depicted Barker reclining on a divan as he looks at a photograph of his fiancée. His devoted dog, who gazes admiringly at his master, is by his side.
Zorn wrote that the title of the painting could well be Rivals.

Zorn dedicated to Clarence Barker a self portrait because the artist greatly esteemed the young man.

I love this post, M. Peter. It's beautiful and enlightening. Thanks for the tour.

claude said...

C'est toujours intéressant de faire connaissance avec des peintres méconnus de soi. J'aime bien son style. Je m'endormirai moins ignorante ce soir.

Lander Writer said...


Slow to fade
Then slow to die

Lives measured
In Paris years