The painting "Une première" was one of Anders Zorn's first experiments portraying nude models in the open air. He was fascinated by the waves, the water reflections, the shifting weight, and the colors of the flesh as the woman and child wade into the shallow water.
|Anders Zorn, Une première, gouache, 1888, 76x56 cm,|
(29.92 in x 22.05 in), at the Nationalmuseum, Blasieholmen, Stockholm.
Zorn said, "My model was in Stockholm staying at a shoemaker's family with many children when I came along and asked to borrow a boy. The shoemaker had nothing against being rid of one for a while. The boy that suited me was sickly and close to death anyway. But what an effect fresh air had on a naked body. A couple of weeks later, I returned the boy and he was so healthy and rosy-checked that his parents hardly recognized him."
The original version of this gouache painting won a medal, but Zorn decided to rework it. He became so dissatisfied with the outcome that he angrily folded it and hacked it to pieces. A fellow artist, Christian Eriksson, gathered the fragments and put them back together. It is now considered a masterwork of figure painting.