Anders Zorn

Last Sunday was a perfect, mild winter day, sun and mist. We took a walk at Land’s End and then went to see an exhibit of the Swedish painter, Anders Zorn (1860-1920), at the Palace of the Legion of Honor. I’d never heard of him, and while I didn’t think much of his later work, I loved his early watercolors. He was a painter who came from very humble origins and achieved fame early. He wound up making ~$15,000 a week in the early 1900’s painting portraits in the mode of John Singer Sargent. In his final self-portrait, he looks plump, content, and more like a wealthy merchant than an artist.  Still, I think it’s worth a trip to see the rooms of watercolors. The personalities of his subjects seem to shine through, and his water is especially vivid.

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This is a watercolor of his fiancé, later wife.













And this commission was rejected because the pose of the woman on the left was “ugly,” and an unfortunate beam of sunlight on the boatman’s pants was too suggestive.
























As we left the museum, the view provided its own Zorn image of a container ship heading towards the Golden Gate:


2 thoughts on “Anders Zorn

  1. The watercolor of Anders Zorn’s (I love his name) fiance is strange, no one uses this view of a face, yet it is what makes this image so arresting. The strong center of her lightly spinning (to me) parasol.

  2. I hadn’t really thought about what made that painting so strange, but you’re right. No one paints from under the face looking up.

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