Digital Commonwealth

Anders Zorn (1860-1920). Etchings and Other Works

Boston Public Library

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Anders Zorn (1860-1920) was a Swedish painter, sculptor, and printmaker.

Born in Mora, Zorn’s early drawings and wood carvings showed his artistic abilities. Between 1875 and 1880, he studied sculpture and painting at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts. He then traveled extensively in England, Spain, and France and established his reputation as a portrait painter. After their marriage in 1885, Zorn and his wife settled in Paris in 1888, where they lived until returning to Sweden in 1896. Zorn continued to receive international recognition, including commissions to paint the portraits of President Grover Cleveland and his wife Frances and Presidents William Howard Taft and Theodore Roosevelt. He also gained recognition from American collectors, including Isabella Stewart Gardner and Albert Henry Wiggin.

It was in 1882 that Zorn turned to etching in addition to painting and sculpture. As with his paintings, he earned renown for his accomplished technique. He also pursued similar interests in subject matter. Many of his prints are portraits of prominent figures of the period, including Antonin Proust, Anatole France, Augustus Saint Gaudens, Mrs. Grover Cleveland, and members of the Swedish royal family. Greatly influenced by the French Impressionists during his time in Paris, Zorn also explored his interest in how light plays across water and the human figure.

With the exception of some additional gifts and purchases, the major portion of Boston Public Library’s collection of works by Zorn came through the generosity of Albert H. Wiggin when he gave his collection of prints and drawings to the library in 1941. The Wiggin gift also includes one of Zorn’s oil paintings, King’s Kari, and proofs of nine canceled plates from which few proofs were printed.

Critical funding to support long-term preservation of and enhanced public access to Boston Public Library collections, including this one, was provided by the Associates of the Boston Public Library.

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