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The Zorn Project in Sweden and America
The next day, in early August, we made the five hour train trip north to Mora and disembarked to sleet and threatening skies. For two Americans who frequently traveled to Italy, the weather thoroughly depressed us. We wondered what we were doing in such a Godforsaken place. Getting up early the next morning, we walked over to the Zorn Museum in the chilly weather and our gloom turned to joy. We had stumbled upon the most comprehensive Zorn exhibition since the artist’s death in 1920.

The exhibition featured Zorn’s watercolors, oil paintings, etchings, and sculpture. As we went from room to room in the museum, which was designed by Ragnar Östberg, the architect of Stockholm’s distinctive City Hall, we realized that we had, in one instant gone from seeing no Zorns other than in books and catalogues, to having spread before us a comprehensive survey of the artist’s works. In one room we came across Vårt dagliga bröd (Our Daily Bread), a large watercolor commissioned by the National Museum, Stockholm, that depicts Zorn’s family members harvesting potatoes while his grandmother prepares food for the group on an open fire in the field. Willow stood before the painting and was suddenly struck by a feeling of déjà vu. Being in north-central Sweden and seeing this painting, she was transported back to her girlhood days in rural northern Minnesota. She remembered the large harvest dinners held for all the neighbors who joined together to help one-another with the crops.

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