Having spent several years living half-time in Sweden, the two Swedish artists of interest to me were Bruno Liljefors [The Luminous Paintings of Bruno Liljefors] and Anders Zorn. With Zorn one can see the influence of his time in Europe. His paintings are imbued with the light of the Impressionists and the sensuality of Bouguereau.
Below, an article from Art Knowledge News, gives you the background of Zorn and his museum in Mora, Sweden.
“Anders Zorn Collections is the official name of the spouses Zorn’s donation to the Swedish state. The donation from 1942 includes more than sixty buildings and nearly 23, 000 objects. It basically consists of four parts: Zorn Museum (the Zornmuseet), Zorngården, Zorn Gammelgård and Gopsmor. In 1995 came Textile Chamber next Zorn Gammelgård. The donation also included a larger capital donationas well. This is managed by the Uppsala University under the name Zorn Fund.
Anders Zorn, a famous Swedish artist and art collector, gathered over the years in which art and crafts in large quantities. He also had plans to build a museum for his collections. There was, however, his widow, Emma Zorn, who along with Zorn Collections senior curator, Professor Gerda Boëthius, came to realize his plans. Zorn Museum was opened in 1939 in Mora, Sweden. The Zorn Museum was designed by Ragnar Ostberg, known as the architect to City Hall. Zorn Museum was Östberg’s last work. The classicism brick building was supplemented in 1982 with a glazed stairwell on the west side, designed by architect Torbjörn Olsson. In 1996 the museum was equipped also with an extension of exhibition galleries, library and museum office. Anders Zorn had educational ambitions of the museum he planned. This would allow art lovers and students to have the opportunity to see and learn from arts and crafts from around the world. That ambition remains to some extent still today, even though the focus over the years increasingly been directed at the artist’s own works.
The permanent exhibition offers paintings by Midnight (1891), Vall Kulla (1908), Dancing in Gopsmorstugan (1913) and the two self-portraits in red and the wolf-skin coat (both 1915). Among the watercolors are Grandma (1883), Misses Solomon (1888) and a large number of water studies. Zorn’s etchings occupy a single room. The Zorn Museum also displays works of contemporary friends of the artist Bruno Liljefors, Carl Larsson, Prince Eugene, Albert Edelfelt and others. Zorn Museum and Zorngården is centrally located in Mora. Zorn Gammelgård and Textile Chamber is exactly one kilometer from the Zorn Museum (a beautiful walk along the shore of Lake Siljan). Gopsmor is situated two miles north of Mora. Anders Zorn (1860 – 1920) painter of three US presidents is internationally renowned for his portraits and paintings. At the World Exhibition in Paris in 1889 Zorn was awarded the French Legion of Honour, all Swedish newspapers featured this art news about their celebrated artist. [Bruno Liljefors (1860-1939) – “Fox in Winter Landscape” – Oil on canvas, 35 x 50 cm. – Collection of The Zorn Museum in Mora, Sweden]
Twelve-year-old Zorn was written into the school in Enköping. At that time, his great artistic talent is already proven. Three years later he sought to be submitted at the Art Academy in Stockholm. From the beginning he thought becoming a sculptor, but soon took watercolor painting over, the medium that would be his favorite style right up to 1887. At student exhibition 1880 held Zorn through with watercolor in mourning (National Museum). At that time, some wealthy locals have already noticed Zorn’s talent and commissioned portraits of him.
It was during a mission as he in 1881 met his future wife, Emma Lamb. She came from a wealthy, Jewish merchant family with strong cultural interests. The pair had a secret engagement in anticipation of that Zorn would gain a secure income. The four years spent Zorn abroad, particularly in England and Spain. He had his first exhibitions abroad and won international fame as a portrait painter. In autumn 1885 he was married to Emma Lamm. The next eleven years the couple mostly living abroad, first in England, then in Paris. Summers, however, they would spend in Sweden. In the late 1880’s began Zorn work in the genre that increasingly would become his trademark – naked in the open.
Water movements and light reflections on the water had long been interested in him, now he complicated the subject by placing a model on or in the water and tried to portray a synthesis between nature and humans. In such paintings he brought the classic nude painting of a new sensuality.
Zorn’s reputation rested primarily on his portraiture. Several of his portraits were added in the U.S., where the Swede during seven voyages reached an almost unimaginable success. Bankers, industrialists and politicians were willing to pay astronomical sums to allow themselves to be portrayed by him. Among our customers were even presidents, Grover Cleveland (National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC) and William Taft (White House, Washington, DC). A third president, Theodore Roosevelt, was portrayed by Zorn in an etching.
An arts and crafts exhibition, the first ever of its kind in Mora, opens on Tuesday, 21st December. The Museum will be filled with antique crafts, and contemporary art handicraft by 60 selected designers. The exhibition, a joint undertaking by the Swedish Museum of Architecture and the Zorn Museum. “From death to birth in an illuminated night” – A Winter Fest 2010 begins at the Zorn Museum to celebrate the 150 anniversary of the birth of Anders Zorn.”