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The self-proclaimed king of Swedish art, Anders Zorn rose to prominence during his own lifetime to become one of the most famous artists in the world.
Here we examine his legacy and also tackle each of the mediums in which he was involved, one by one.
In truth, however, the paintings that most of the public hold dearest would be his scenes of everyday life, such as Summer Fun (Sommarnöje) and Midsummer Dance. These were charming pieces that also told the story of life in Sweden during the late 19th century, when few other artists of note were doing the same. See also quotes here.
He certainly didn't lack confidence, but there was also lots to work with as discovered by some of his fellow students who first came across his work when developing in art college. Most significantly, Zorn studied from 1875 to 1880 at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts in Stockholm and this was to prove an important stage in his path to prominence.
Transition from watercolours to oils
This helped him to plan the piece for which he would be paid, considering the main elements of each composition before commencing the final artwork. Failure to plan appropriately would leave a painter having to make amendments directly on the canvas itself, as Chardin was often criticised for, and this proved incredibly tiresome and emotionally draining. Zorn, in avoiding this common pitfall, was also able to increase his output of work too.
These frequent journeys also had the additional benefit of building connections for future commissions, ensuring that he eventually became a particularly wealthy individual who was in great demand for those looking to have a portrait painted of themselves or a loved one. Once an artist could count royalty and politicians within his client base, then he would be considered worthy of anyone else.
Growing Art Collection
He counted a number of notable Swedish artists within his collection, as well as some by the Dutch master, Rembrandt, who was someone that had inspired him all his life. This generous couple decided to have all of their works passed onto the state upon their deaths, and may of them are now a part of permanent displays in some of the region's major art museums and galleries.
This is undeniably true, but modern tastes are not as judgemental over what art should or shouldn't be. One can appreciate the technical brilliance of artists such as Zorn, Sargent, Sorolla and Whistler these days, purely as it was intended and without a need for any additional layers of meaning or expression. The same can also be said for the key members of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood in the UK, too, where a love of Victorian art has continued to grow within recent years.
Connection to French Impressionism
They varied in terms of their expressiveness, but the collective as a whole was highly regarded by academics, despite being initially rejected by the establishment after a number of early exhibitions. It also reminds us as to how impressive it was for Zorn to achieve the success that he did without being part of a larger group of artists, and having to do it all on his own.
Artists such as these have embraced different genres as an opportunity to develop their skills, with light and colour always the most significant consideration, whatever the particular content of each artwork. Speaking of Repin, his most famous paintings would probably be considered as Barge Haulers on the Volga and Religious Procession in Kursk Province. Related artists include Valentin Serov, Vasily Surikov and Ivan Kramskoi. There was also obviously a severe political turbulence within this region that adds an extra element of interest to the oeuvre produced by this group.