Friday, December 13, 2013

Book Review: Anders Zorn: Sweden's Master Painter


The new book Anders Zorn: Sweden's Master Painter is a career survey catalog published to accompany the exhibition that's now in San Francisco.


I hesitated to buy it (upper left) because I already have other Zorn books, but I'm glad I did. It's got faithful reproductions, well-written essays, and quite a few images that haven't been published before.


The text is by four authors, all Zorn experts, including a biographical essay by Johan Cederlund, director of the Zorn Collections in Zorn's hometown of Mora, Sweden. They discuss his experiences in America, his nudes, his portraits, and his place in Swedish culture. There's not much coverage of his technical methods or specific insights from an artist's point of view, unfortunately.


I was glad to see many of Zorn's watercolors included. Zorn painted exclusively in watercolor early in his career, and switched mostly to oil later on. Zorn picked the most difficult subjects for his watercolors, such as boatmen in open water, or portraits of children from life.


In Zorn's etchings, figures emerge from an atmosphere of slashing parallel strokes. The etchings were my first introduction to his work when I saw an exhibition of them back in about 1977. The etchings are well represented both in the exhibition and the catalog, with a chapter by James Ganz "Etching in the City of Light: Anders Zorn Among the Post-Impressionists."

The book is hardbound, 9x12 inches, 224 pages, with many large reproductions, something many art book publishers neglect to offer.
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RESOURCES:
Book: Anders Zorn: Sweden's Master Painter
Exhibition: at the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco until Feb 2, and will then travel to the National Academy in New York, opening at the end of February, 2014.

4 comments:

Katherine said...

Is the painting of the ladies in white on the steps a watercolour? If so, it's amazing! I can almost feel the boats rocking slightly. The focal point in shadow is unusual too. I like the way the gaze of the boatman directs us there.

daveb001 said...

Yes, In the Harbour of Algiers is a watercolor. I suppose it's currently out on loan for the recent exhibitions, but it's usually at Waldemarsudde here in Stockholm, part of Prins Eugens' private collection. It's one of my all-time favourites and I always make sure to spend time in front of it when I'm at Waldemarsudde... it's just gorgeous! (Prins Eugen is a bit of a personal hero to me)

Katherine said...

Thanks for the information Dave. I plan to be in Stockholm in 2015, on my way to a cousin's house in Lapland. I shall have to see it.

davidbrasgalla said...

How exciting, Katherine! That area is supposed to be fantastically beautiful... I've never been, and would love to someday.

When you make it to Stockholm, please don't hesitate to get in touch - I'd be happy to play tour guide around some of the museums, including Waldemarsudde - it's a "can't miss". They have a gallery with changing exhibitions as well as the permanent collection in the prince's former home (I think his personal collection is stunning). The Nationalmusuem is unfortunately closed for renovations currently, but we have a lot of other great museums! :D