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Art Curatorial Exhibitions

From the Collection: The Nudes of Anders Zorn

The current exhibition in the European works on paper rotation space (on view until July 31) is Anders Zorn: Sweden’s Painter-Etcher. Featuring all 18 prints in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection by Zorn, this is the first time ever that they have been on view at the same time. This is the fifth and final in a series of posts focusing on the exhibition.

Anders Leonard Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920), Dal River (Dalälven), 1919. Etching, roulette, drypoint, and engraving. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mr. Lindsay Hoben M1966.111. Photo credit: John R. Glembin
Anders Leonard Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920), Dal River (Dalälven), 1919. Etching, roulette, drypoint, and engraving. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mr. Lindsay Hoben M1966.111. Photo credit: John R. Glembin

This week, we’ll wrap up our consideration of the prints of Anders Zorn with a look at one of his favorite subjects: the female nude.

In 1888, Zorn became one of the first artists to paint nude women outdoors in a publicly accessible setting. Before this time, if an artist wanted to show a nude out-of-doors, the proper thing was to sketch or paint the outdoor setting and then add the nude from a model later in the privacy of the studio.

How different was Zorn’s use of the female nude? Just compare the 1875 painting Nymph of the Hunt with Fauns by Swedish artist Julius Kronberg (1850–1921) with Zorn’s copy in watercolor, Love Nymph from 1885, both in the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm.

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Art Curatorial Exhibitions

From the Collection: Anders Zorn Returns to Sweden

The current exhibition in the European works on paper rotation space (on view until July 31) is Anders Zorn: Sweden’s Painter-Etcher. Featuring all 18 prints in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection by Zorn, this is the first time ever that they have been on view at the same time. This is the fourth in a series of posts focusing on the exhibition.

Anders Leonard Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920), Skerikulla, 1912. Etching and engraving. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gertrude Nunnemacher Schuchardt Collection, presented by William H. Schuchardt M1924.140. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.
Anders Leonard Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920), Skerikulla, 1912. Etching and engraving. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gertrude Nunnemacher Schuchardt Collection, presented by William H. Schuchardt M1924.140. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

So far, in our most recent series of posts, we have seen that, in the 1880’s, the lively cultural scene in newly urban Paris not only inspired Anders Zorn to adopt a modern artistic sensibility but also provided him with modern subject matter. In 1896, however, Zorn and his wife decided to move their permanent residence from Paris back to their native Sweden.

The Zorns built their house in Swedish folk style and decorated it both with local artwork and treasures from their travels. In addition, they gradually moved historical timber buildings from around the area to the property, eventually accumulating about 40, including Sweden’s oldest secular timber building from 1237. A little ways from the house, Zorn established his studio in a farm cottage that was called Gopsmor.

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Art Curatorial Exhibitions

From the Collection: Anders Zorn Captures Modern Life

The current exhibition in the European works on paper rotation space (on view until July 31) is Anders Zorn: Sweden’s Painter-Etcher. Featuring all 18 prints in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection by Zorn, this is the first time ever that they have been on view at the same time. This is the third in a series of posts focusing on the exhibition.

Anders Leonard Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920), Girl With A Cigarette II, 1891. Etching. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gertrude Nunnemacher Schuchardt Collection, presented by William H. Schuchardt M1924.131. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.
Anders Leonard Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920), Girl With A Cigarette II, 1891. Etching. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gertrude Nunnemacher Schuchardt Collection, presented by William H. Schuchardt M1924.131. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

Paris in the 1880’s was like no other place.

Citizens from all over France joined with immigrants from all over the world.  Some flocked there to take advantage of new opportunities in industry, others to experience an avant-garde culture.  The population more than doubled in the second half of the nineteenth century.

New entertainment venues popped up to cater to the masses.  Circuses, dance halls, cabarets, theaters, operas, museums (including the first wax museum in Paris) added to the excitement of the city.

Meanwhile, Napoleon III, the Emperor of France, hired an urban planner who changed the entire look of the city.  A warren of medieval buildings was transformed into a modern city with wide boulevards.

Paris was experiencing the growth of a modern urban center–and all the problems and benefits of that growth.  It is probably not surprising that visual artists found inspiration with new subject matter and developed innovative ways to depict it.

Anders Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920) made Paris his home between 1886 and 1896. Accordingly, his artistic output during this period shows the influence of the modern city around him.

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Art Curatorial Exhibitions

From the Collection: Anders Zorn’s Portrait Prints

The current exhibition in the European works on paper rotation space (on view until July 31) is Anders Zorn: Sweden’s Painter-Etcher.  Featuring all 18 prints in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection by Zorn, the exhibition is the first time ever that they have been on view at the same time.  This is the second in a series of posts focusing on the exhibition.

Anders Leonard Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920), King Oscar II (or Oscar II), 1898. Etching and aquatint. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Greene M1979.23. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.
Anders Leonard Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920), King Oscar II (or Oscar II), 1898. Etching and aquatint. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gift of Mrs. Joseph Greene M1979.23. Photo credit: John R. Glembin.

Last time, we were introduced to career of Anders Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920). In this post, we’ll consider a few more of his portrait prints.

In the Milwaukee Art Museum exhibition, there are portraits of two members of the Swedish royal family: the King of Sweden, Oscar II (left), and the Crown-Princess Margaret (below), who was married to Gustav Adolf, the grandson of King Oscar. Margaret herself was the granddaughter of Queen Victoria of England.

Oscar II was a fan of Zorn’s from the artist’s earliest days, when the king tried to purchase a watercolor from him at an exhibition at the Stockholm Academy. The king eventually commissioned some painted portraits from Zorn. Our portrait print is not based upon any of those paintings. It shows the king at leisure, enjoying his yacht—he is even wearing a captain’s hat. It seems appropriate to use the intimate scale of an etching to capture the head of state.

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Art Curatorial Exhibitions

From the Collection: Anders Zorn and Etching

The current exhibition in the European works on paper rotation space (on view until July 31) is Anders Zorn: Sweden’s Painter-EtcherFeaturing all 18 prints in the Milwaukee Art Museum’s collection by Zorn, the exhibition is the first time ever that they have been on view at the same time.  This is the first in a series of posts focusing on the exhibition.

Anders Leonard Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920), Zorn and his Wife, 1890. Etching, possibly drypoint, and graphite. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gertrude Nunnemacher Schuchardt Collection, presented by William H. Schuchardt M1924.141. Photo credit: John R. Glembin
Anders Leonard Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920), Zorn and his Wife, 1890. Etching, possibly drypoint, and graphite. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gertrude Nunnemacher Schuchardt Collection, presented by William H. Schuchardt M1924.141. Photo credit: John R. Glembin

Did you know that Anders Zorn might be the most famous artist you’ve never heard of?

During his career, which spanned about 20 years before and 20 years after 1900, Zorn was in high demand for painted portrait commissions in Europe and in the U.S.  In fact, he was in direct competition with John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925), one of the best known portrait painters at the turn of the twentieth century.

So, who was Anders Zorn?

Anders Zorn was born in 1860, the son of a German brewer and one of his Swedish employees.  His parents were not married, and Zorn’s father was not very involved in his son’s life, although he did leave Zorn a small inheritance when he died.