Anders Zorn was an influential and renowned Swedish painter and sculptor, who garnered immense fame for his nude studies and iconic portraits. He is considered as of the most prominent, talented and successful artists of the late 19th century.
Anders Zorn was born on February 18, 1860, in Mora, Sweden as the illegitimate child of Grudd Anna Andersdotter, an unmarried peasant woman, and German Brewer, Leonhard Zorn. Anders never met his father, however, his father acknowledged him as his son and gave him the family name. From a very young age, Anders began exhibiting a natural and unique talent along with a strong passion for art.
Anders was raised by his grandparents, who lived at a farm, and young Anders attended a school nearby. Upon reaching the age of 12, in 1872, he began attending a secondary grammar school in Enkoping. After studying in Enkoping for three years, he joined Royal Swedish Academy of Arts in Stockholm, where his teachers were astonished by Ander’s scale of artistic capabilities and his unique ability to portray the emotions and individuality of his subjects. He had the ability to truly encapsulate the personality and character of the subjects on his canvas. It was his dedication and determination which facilitated his rise from ordinary and humble beginnings to become one of the most prominent and famous artists of the 19th century.
Although, Anders had initially planned to train as a sculptor, he soon changed his mind and decided to focus on building a career as a painter. He began experimenting with watercolors, and in 1880, he garnered immense applause for showcasing his painting, ‘In Mourning’ at a student exhibition. He began to achieve commercial success and fame even during his college days, and once he graduated, commissions and opportunities lined up at his door in great numbers.
During the 1880s, Anders travelled extensively and showcased his work in exhibitions in UK, France, Spain, Italy and the United States. He had developed a great fondness for watercolours which can be seen in his works as an aquarellist, for instance, ‘The Thornbush’ and ‘Summer Vacation’. In 1886, the Swedish National Museum commissioned him for ‘Our Daily Bread’, which is indeed his most famous water color painting.
Anders began travelling to the US more and more, and he became increasingly popular among the Americans, particularly his portraits which made him a highly sought-after portrait artist. He had the honor to paint portraits of three American Presidents: Grover Cleveland, William H. Taft, and Theodore Roosevelt. Towards the 1890s, his work began to feature nudes, primarily female figures in outdoor settings. This fueled his popularity and fame.
In 1896, Anders grew tired and weary of travelling, and he decided to move back home to Mora, in Sweden. After returning to his native place, he began painting the city of Mora and its people going about their routine chores and recording their everyday lives on his huge canvases. In addition to his paintings, Anders has produced around 289 etchings. At the age of 29, Anders received the Chevalier da le Legion d’honneur at the Exposition Universelle 1889, in Paris.
Anders Zorn began suffering health ailments towards his last days, and he passed away on August 22, 1920.