Anders Zorn Retrospective At National Academy Museum

Anders Zorn, “Martha Dana (later Mrs William Mercer),” 1899, oil on canvas, 27 by 20 inches. Courtesy of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

NEW YORK CITY — The National Academy will present a major retrospective of Anders Zorn (1860–1920), who ranks among renowned Norwegian painters from the turn of the Twentieth Century. A gifted watercolorist, painter, and etcher, Zorn rose from humble beginnings in the Swedish countryside to travel the world, captivate American artists and politicians alike, and paint most-sought after portraits of America’s Gilded Age.

“Anders Zorn: Sweden’s Master Painter” features 90 rarely seen works, oil paintings, watercolors, etchings, and sculptures, drawn from public and private collections throughout Europe and the United States. The major retrospective, on view through May 18, reveals Zorn’s vibrant artistic personality.

An international artist, Zorn traveled early in his career to Spain and Algeria where the intense color and light inspired this watercolorist to perfect his craft. Later in Paris, influenced by the Impressionists, he chronicled modern life, while in America he rivaled John Singer Sargent as the most sought-after portraitist of high society.

During his seven trips to the United States, he portrayed bankers, and industrialists, including Andrew Carnegie, and even three presidents —Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, and, in a portrait that still hangs in the White House today, William Howard Taft.

Back in Sweden he painted scenes of the Swedish countryside, his native folk culture and the beauty and serenity of the Nordic landscape. “Zorn was one of the leader artists of his time, and it is wonderful that American audiences will now be able to become more familiar with this master’s art in all its richness and beauty,” said Bruce Weber, senior curator.

Zorn’s connection with artists in America is highlighted in a complimentary exhibition, “Anders Zorn’s American Associates.” Zorn was friends or acquaintances with John Singer Sargent, Augustus St. Gaudens, Frederick MacMonnies and John White Alexander, whose work is featured in this exhibition, drawn principally from the museum’s collection.

The National Academy is on Museum Mile at 1083 Fifth Avenue at 89th Street. For more information, 212-369-4880 or www.nationalacademy.org.

Anders Zorn, “Self Portrait in Red,” 1915, oil on canvas, 47 1/5 by 35 2/5 inches. Courtesy Zornmuseet, Mora. —Patric Evinger photo

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