Tuesday, July 28, 2009

MASTER OF THE ART OF PREMIER COUP (DIRECT STROKE) OIL TECHNIQUE



Anders Leonhard Zorn
1886 photo
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Anders Leonhard Zorn's early and phenomenal popularity was sustained throughout his career as a portrait painter of eminent persons in all fields. He was admired for the charm and freshness of his work, which also included genre and landscape subjects. He traveled throughout Europe and visited the United States but he always returned to his native Mora, Sweden. Zorn's works are in many European and American collections; his Mora (Worcester, Mass., Art Mus.) is a fine example. Since his death, his virtuoso etching style has been esteemed more than his work in oils.
(The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition 2008 at Encyclopedia.com home page)


[Anders Zorn], ca. 1905
Davis & Sanford (Firm: New York, N.Y.)
Photographic print b&w ; 27 x 21 cm
Charles Scribner's Sons Art Reference Dept. records
1839-1962
Archives of American Art


Carnegie Institute Jury, 1911
unidentified photographer
Photographic print b&w ; 15 x 18 cm
Cecilia Beaux papers, 1863-1968
Archives of American Art

Individuals identified as: (top row, L to R) Walter Elmer Schofield, Anders Zorn, and Frank Duveneck, (front row L to R) John Wesley Beatty, William Merritt Chase, Cecilia Beaux, Edmund Tarbell, Julian Alden Weir, unidentified English judge, and possibly Charles Harold Davis.


Anders Zorn's studio
Anders Zorns Atelier in Mora
Author Holger.Ellgaard
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


He is famous for his paintings of the people of Dalarna, the part of Sweden where he was born, and his nudes in the open space. He earned a world-wide reputation as a portraitist. He made seven journeys to the USA.
(MIKAEL GUSTAFSSON at anderszorn.info)
He studied at Royal Swedish Academy of Arts in Stockholm, Sweden from 1875-1880. He traveled extensively to London, Paris, the Balkans, Spain, Italy and the United States, becoming an international success as one of the most acclaimed painters of his era. While his early works were often brilliant, luminous watercolors, by 1887 he had switched firmly to oils. Zorn painted portraits, scenes depicting rustic life and customs. Zorn is also famous for his realistic depictions of water.


Vågskvalp [Lappings of the waves]
Watercolor on paper, 1887
100 x 66 inches (254.00 x 167.64 cm)
Private collection
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center


Kaikroddare
Watercolor on paper, 1886
51 x 79 inches (129.54 x 200.66 cm)
Private collection
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center


Sommarnoje
Watercolor on paper, 1886
76 x 56 inches (193.04 x 142.24 cm)
Private collection
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center


Hamburgs Hamn
1891
Watercolor on paper
46" x 67"
Private collection
© 1999-2007 PK Hobbs, E-vint.com


Zorn lived in London between 1882 and 1885 and in Paris from 1888 to 1896. Already in 1882 one of his watercolours was exhibited in the Paris Salon and in 1884 he was given a place of honour at the spring exhibition of the Royal Institute of Watercolours in London, exhibiting, among other things, his famous portrait "Grandmother". From 1887 on Zorn was chiefly occupied with oilpainting and etching. In Paris he belonged to the leading art circles and in the spring of 1888 the
French State bought his first big oil work "A fisherman" painted in S t Ives, Cornwall.


A Fisherman
Copyright © 2009 Elton Smith at ongsofpraise.org


"Margit" and "Midnight" were painted in Mora in the summer of 1981 and both were sold in Paris the year after.


Margit
Oil on canvas, 1891
30 5/8 x 25 inches (78 x 63.7 cm)
Private collection
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center


Midnight
From Steve Art Gallery.se


That winter he also painted the little study of a sitting model and the portrait of his wife "Emma Zorn in the Studio" which was exhibited at the Salon of Societé Nationale de Beaux Arts.


Porträtt av Emma Zorn i Parisateljén
(Portrait of Emma Zorn in the Paris studio)
Oil on canvas, 1894
50 1/2 x 34 3/8 inches (128.5 x 87.5 cm)
Private collection
From Steve Art Gallery.se


Zorn spent 1893 in the United States where he was commissioner of the Swedish Art Department of the Chicago World Fair. He returned to the United States six times and left an important part of his work there, having painted and etched portraits of many prominent Americans including President Grover Cleveland and President William Taft (The White House, Washington D.C.). Zorn also painted numerous portraits in France, England, Germany and other countries and his work in this genre is generally admired for its taut composition and fine psychological description.
(Swedish Press February 1990 at nordicway.com)


President Grover Cleveland
From allpaintings.org


President William Taft
From Steve Art Gallery.se


President William Taft
From Steve Art Gallery.se


It was primarily his skill as a portrait painter that gained Zorn international acclaim based principally upon his incisive ability to depict the individual character of his model.
At 29, he was made Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur at the Exposition Universelle 1889 Paris World Fair.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Some of his most important works can be seen at National Museum (National Museum of Fine Arts) in Stockholm. Among them is Midsummer Dance (1897), a depiction of dancers in the evening light of a rural Midsummer Eve celebration. Other museums holding works by Zorn include the Musée d'Orsay in Paris and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
The Zorn Collections in Mora (Dalarna County, Sweden) is a museum dedicated to the works of Anders Zorn. It was designed by Ragnar Östberg and opened in 1939.
(Copyright © 2002-2009 www.anderszorn.org)


Zornmuseet, Zornsamlingarna i Mora
Author Holger.Ellgaard
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Midsommardans / Midsummer dance
Oil on canvas, 1903
Dimensions 117.5 × 90 cm (46.25 × 35.43 in)
Current location National museum Stockholm
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


In 1893, on his first trip to America, Zorn visited New York City en route to the Columbian World Exhibition in Chicago (also known as Chicago’s World Fair).
The self-made artist subscribed to American values and immediately felt welcome in America. Zorn wrote about America in his memoirs:
“I get on well in America and with Americans. Their frank, straightforward manner suits my nature. I’ve never really been able to stand our urban Europeans’ ceremonious style and artificial customs. When I first came out of Dalarna, I quickly learned that everything I knew and valued was considered nothing, and that one should never tell the truth about things in polite society. . . . But the only rules of conduct that were so severely impressed on me by my grandfather from my earliest childhood were not so tricky; faithfulness, being true to one’s word, honesty, and punctuality, virtues I discovered were unnecessary in the cities of Europe. . . . Why was I more than other foreigners during [my first visit to America] closest to the elite of America and introduced in all the clubs? Everywhere I go, I ascribe this to my grandfather, the splendid old Mora peasant who raised me until I was twelve. . . . Over there [in America], when they say "He’s all-right," all doors open to the foreigner, which Europeans cannot understand. Openness, honesty, straightforwardness, punctuality, these things are included in the testimonial ‘He’s all-right.’”
Not only did Zorn love America, but also America loved him, and continues to do so. The artist was one of the most actively collected printmakers of the early 20th Century, fetching extremely high prices at auction and was often ranked among the world’s most highly-esteemed printmakers.
(Childs Gallery)


"Zorn in America"
A Swedish Impressionist of the Gilded Age
By William and Willow Hagans
The book is Illustrated with over 130 paintings
etchings, drawings, and photos
Copyright 2009 The American Swedish Institute


The time Anders Zorn’s spent in America between 1893 and 1911, painting and etching over 100 prominent Americans, is the focus of this book and accompanying lecture presented by Willow Hagans at the American Swedish Historical Museum in South Philadelphia on Saturday, May 16, 2009. The book Zorn in America is the culmination of twenty years of research by Willow and William Hagans. The book and talk illuminate details and stories that surround the paintings and etchings Zorn completed during his lengthy sojourns in the United States. The Hagans reveal how Zorn’s trips solidified his standing at the time as one of the era’s greatest and most in-demand artists.
(From americanswedish.org)
In Zorn you can see lush stroking and a brilliant understanding of warm and cool light, colour-loaded shade areas, sophisticated grays and reflected light. He built simple, bold, often monochromatic or analogous colour schemes in casual compositions. Like Sargent, he had an uncanny way of rendering what was before him, making it look hasty and flawless at the same time. Some of his decentralized and happenstance views have a decided "off-screen" look.
(Copyright 2005 Robert Genn at painterskeys.com)
His name is invariably included in an illustrious quartet of late nineteenth-century/early twentieth century masters of the art of premier coup (direct stroke) oil technique. The four names which are customarily linked are: John Singer Sargent (American), Joaquin Sorolla (Spanish), Giovanni Boldini (Italian) and Zorn (Scandinavian). Legion were (and are) the painters who have attempted this very difficult and demanding technique, but these four, working contemporaneously, were the standard-bearers of the discipline in their era.
Zorn's work is always exciting. His draftsmanship is superb. His brushwork is fresh, direct and animated. His compositions are frequently unconventional. For the working artist who needs inspiration to free his hand from hesitation and restraint, Zorn is the perfect artist to study. Here are four examples of his brilliant work, all self-portraits:


Självporträtt med modell
Selfportrait with model, 1896
117 × 94 cm (46.06 × 37.00 in)
Huidige verblijfplaats Nationalmuseum Stockholm
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Zorn's best-known self-portrait depicts the artist revealed by a very strong side light which divides the face into light and dark. The artist wears a light gray smock, high white collar, and full artist's cravat. The palette shows the three pigments which form the basis of his flesh tones: white, yellow ochre and cadmium red light (or vermilion).
In a highly unconventional arrangement, a large dark void occupies the center of the composition, with the resting model (who covers herself with a dark wrap) in the upper right corner. Note the refection of the model's feet in the polished floor.
(John Howard Sanden at worldofportraitpainting.com site created by A Stroke of Genius, Inc)
Even though Zorn himself showed four colors in his self-portrait, he probably used more when the occasion demanded. A person associated with a Swedish museum devoted to Zorn asserted that Zorn also used cobalt blue because more than 30 tubes of it were found among his possessions after he died. The source further stated that Zorn often painted water, which is difficult to do without blue -- one of the three primary pigment colors along with red and yellow. (Green, normally a mixture of yellow and blue could be obtained from the Zorn Palette by mixing yellow with black. A blue could be obtained by mixing black with white, though some blacks are probably more suitable for this than others.)
There is no consensus in how-to books for painting regarding palettes. At least one favors having black, white and a warm and cool version of each of the three primaries. Other books acknowledge that, in theory, all colors can be mixed from the primaries (plus white and black to lighten or darken) -- but the chemistry of paint ingredients makes this impossible in practice. Therefore, one should use a variety of colors because this can get you closer to the colors you want without mixing too many initial colors -- a practice that runs the risk of yielding "muddy" results.
(Donald Pittenger at 2blowhards.com)


Self-Portrait With Sculpture


Painted at 29, this portrait vividly exhibits the Zorn trademark of extraordinarily free brushwork, with a decided rhythm of strokes blending from one form into another, across the edges or contours. The light here is falling from a high source (possible a skylight). This painting, like many Zorn works, includes a strong story-telling aspect — the young artist is shown in his studio surrounded by elements of his art: the back of a large stretched canvas and a sculpture work-in-progress.
The working artist will note that the very evident brushstrokes all move in the direction of the form (i.e., down the lapels and the front of the coat, across the forehead and cheekbones.
(John Howard Sanden at worldofportraitpainting.com site created by A Stroke of Genius, Inc)


Självporträtt i vargskinnspäls
[Self-portrait in a wolfskin]
Oil on canvas, 1915
35 3/8 x 23 inches (90 x 58.5 cm)
Private collection
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center

Everything in a Zorn painting is achieved through a kind of brushwork/shorthand. The soft texture of the fur coat is deftly achieved by thin applications of very fluid paint. The head, (or rather, the light on the head) is rendered with broad, simple strokes. The black hat is almost an abstract shape. Note the very dark cast shadows over the eyes, and the exceptional darkness of the shadow cast by the head onto the lapel of the coat.
(John Howard Sanden at worldofportraitpainting.com site created by A Stroke of Genius, Inc)


Självporträtt i rött [Self-portrait in red]
Oil on canvas, 1915
47 1/8 x 35 3/8 inches (120 x 90 cm)
Private collection
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center


Zorn's international reputation rests on the strong realism of his work, achieved by a vigorous bold simplicity. (Note the window, achieved with a very few direct, slashing brushstrokes.) The unusual red suit is rendered with extraordinary simplicity, but with utterly convincing realism.
(John Howard Sanden at worldofportraitpainting.com site created by A Stroke of Genius, Inc)
The pursuit of light was the guiding principle of the art of Anders Zorn. With oil-paint, with water-colours, with etching needle, untiringly he pursued light in its frank or subtle manifestations of life and characteristic beauty of expression in the human figure and the countenances of men and women, and it was these that led his art to its brilliant triumphs. Although he would bring to the copper a painter's vision, he developed with his etching-needle an expressive linear manner in which light would be suggestively vibrant, and so entirely was this his own, and with such true etcher's authority did he use it, that he won a distinguished and indisputable place in the front rank of the master-etchers. Indeed it was this individuality of conception in line that gave to the subjects of some of Zorn's finest etchings an intrinsically fresh pictorial vitality, even though as a painter he had already solved their problems of light and its effects. Thus we find acclaimed pictures repeated in etchings, which, quite independently asserting their spontaneity of impression, have proved important factors in establishing the fame of the Swedish master.
Zorn's individuality of expression with the etching-needle, however, took some seven years to evolve. In Stockholm and in Spain he had already practised drawing in water-colours with a certain fluency of accomplishment before he came to London in 1882, and here it was with portraits and other essays in water-colours that he set about earning a livelihood. Art was necessary to the expression of the young man's temperamental joy in life, but he knew he had not yet found his happiest medium. Oil-painting and etching, the two mediums through which he was to become famous, were still for him in the future. Original etching was yet far from being popular, although in London Whistler, Haden and Legros, all active on the copper, were awakening interest in the art. Legros was teaching at the Slade School, Haden, with his masterpieces behind him, had recently founded the society of Painter-Etchers, while Whistler's first "Venice Set" had been two years on the market, yet was selling but slowly.
1889, when he had etched some thirty plates in all, that Zorn began to be really interesting in line. In a portrait of himself at work on his plate he seems to have found himself as an etcher, and then to have successfully tested his discovery with a characteristic presentment of Antonim Proust, Minister of Fine Arts, enjoying a moment of keen interest.


Zorn and his Wife
Etching, 12.37 x 8.25 inches
From a proof in the possession
of Mrs. Anders Zorn
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center


In the delightful Zorn and his Wife that he marked the year 1890 with a really important advance in his art as etcher, and here his own linear technique seems to be definitely established with its independence of outline. It is a charmingly homely scene: the happy young artist at work, his eyes intent on the mirror in front of him to catch the reflection of himself, with his wife standing companionably at his elbow, her eyes focused where his are, his needle in his hand poised for immediate response to the right moment of visual conception. The light and shade are distributed with happy pictorial balance, and the effect of spontaneity is not in any way overruled by the firmness of the design.
(Art Renewal Center)


The waltz
From allpaintings.org


The Waltz
Etching, 13.12 x 8.87
From a proof in the possession
of Mrs. Anders Zorn
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center


The year 1891 saw Zorn very busy with his etching, and, besides the Fauré, he wrought three or four plates which claim important rank in his œuvre. Of these the first was The Waltz, and it is a remarkable achievement in the suggestion, by the rhythmical arrangement of the lights and darks, of the swirling movement of the dancing figures. He had already explored this problem with tones when painting the picture in oils, but here on the copper it was as a master of contrasting directions of lines in masses that he tackled it afresh and succeeded.
(Art Renewal Center)


Madonna
From Steve Art Gallery.se


Madonna
Etching, 9.75 x 7.75 inches
From a proof in the possession
of Mrs. Anders Zorn
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center


Feminine beauty was always an inspiration for Zorn, and between two visits to America in the years 1899 and 1900 he reveled on his copper-plates in the presentation of two types of Swedish beauty, the patrician and the peasant. In Maja we have the charming woman who is conscious that her beauty is as little questioned as her social position; while in Madonna we have a beautiful peasant woman who has no thought of how she may appear to anybody else, for the baby in her arms supplies the whole meaning and motive of her present existence. In this beautiful etching Zorn has achieved a masterpiece of tenderly human expression.
(Art Renewal Center)


Mona or Mother
Grudd Anna Andersdotter
Oil on canvas, 1898
108 x 82 inches (274.32 x 208.28 cm)
Private collection
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center


Mona
Etching, 9.75 x 6.87 inches
From a proof in the possession
of Campbell Dodgson, Esq., C.B.E.
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center


With his portraiture: there are portraits of wealthy and important persons he etched, and etched with masterly accomplishment, which leave one cold, whereas there are others, like those of Auguste Rodin, Anatole France, Marcelin Barthelot, the great chemist and Renan's intimate friend, Prince Paul Troubetskoy, August Strindberg, which hold one because the artist's personality has responded expressively to the personality of his subject. Distinguished portraits all these, are fine etchings, but the Mona is far more. It is a noble and beautiful presentment of the artist's mother, and as we look at this monumental etching, in which every line tells expressively, we realise a splendid type of peasant woman, who has met all of life's experience with simple dignity and beauty of character. To compare this portrait of the mother he loved and honoured wit the etcher's last portrait of him-self in a fur-coat offers interesting material for psychological study.
(Art Renewal Center)


A Toast in the Idun
Society, 1892
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The Toast
Transmuting the pictorial vitality of a subject
from oil-paint to the printed etching
From a proof in the possession
of Mrs. Anders Zorn, 12.5 x 10.37 inches
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center


The Toast is another of Zorn's monumental achievements in transmuting the pictorial vitality of a subject from oil-paint to the printed etching. This is a live and original composition, and it pictures the convivial function in its quiddity. Here is a gathering of the leading writers, artists and scientists of Stockholm to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Idun Society, and the man who founded it, Dr. Wieselgren, Chief of the National Library, and the very personification of geniality, is proposing the toast of the evening. With his glass in one hand, and a good cigar in the other, he is thoroughly enjoying himself, for he is saying things that please him to say and others to hear, if we may judge by the laughing expression of his own eyes and those of the group of convivial scientists behind him, among them Baron Nordenskjöld, the famous explorer. Thirty year of social reminiscence must have evoked many personal allusions that have "set the table on a roar"; he has deliberately turned the laugh against himself, we may be sure; he feels as expansive as he looks; his wit has just got a point home -and the artist, with his genius for the spontaneous impression, has caught the moment alive, and his etching speaks.
(Art Renewal Center)

3 comments:

Rick said...

Thank You so much for posting these great works and for the accompanying information. "Hasty and flawless at the same time" seems to me a perfect description.

rompedas said...

Dear Rick,
Thanks for appreciating. Keep up your good work.

Rick said...

Hello again. I come back to this page from time to time. Good info on Zorn is somewhat scarce on the web. Thanks for keeping the page up. If you don't mind, I have linked to this page to my own blog. It surprises me that even many of my artist friends aren't familiar with the great Anders Zorn.