Zorn in America...
Chapter by Chapter Outline
by Bill and Willow Hagans
This chapter-by-chapter outline serves as an introduction to the life of Anders Zorn, from the perspective of his American activities. There are several brief biographies of Zorn now available in English on the Internet that readers can refer to for a more balanced view of his life and career. Dr. Birgitta Sandstöm, former director of the Zorn Museum, has written a booklet in English on Zorn, Anders Zorn 1860-1920: An Introduction to His Life and Achievements (Zorn Museum, 1996). Zorn in America, a book by Bill and Willow Hagans, from which this outline is derived. See the menu item “American Subjects” for detailed information on Zorn’s activities in the United States.

Chapter One (1860-1881)
After a brief introduction, Zorn’s youth in rural Sweden is examined, emphasizing the hardship and alienation brought on by his illegitimate birth. Zorn relates his peasant upbringing directly to his respect for American values in excerpts from his memoirs. The second half of the chapter deals with Zorn’s education, concluding with his controversial expulsion from Stockholm’s Royal Academy of Art in 1881.

Chapter Two (1881-1888)
Settling in England, Zorn meets a number of Americans. He paints portraits of geologist Clarence King and Clara Hay, beginning a long friendship with diplomat John Hay. Clarence Barker, grandson of Cornelius Vanderbilt, is another American subject. A reporter from the Boston Evening Transcript profiles the artist. After a long secret engagement, Zorn marries Emma Lamm in 1885, and they embark on several lengthy painting trips. In 1888 Zorn meets American painter Edward Simmons in St. Ives, Cornwall. Simmons, who becomes a member of The Ten, assists in Zorn’s conversion to oil painting.

Chapter Three (1888-1889)
London financier Sir Ernest Cassel arranges for Zorn to travel to France to paint portraits, and his success there prompts the Zorns to move to Paris. Etching becomes an important feature of his art, with his portrait of French theologian Ernest Renan receiving wide praise.

Chapter Four (1890-1892)
Zorn comes into contact with many expatriate American artists living in the French capital. With the help of these artists, Zorn develops a network of American patronage prior to his first trip to the United States. Chapter four places Zorn at the center of the international art world as he arrives at his mature style.

Chapter Five (1893-1894)
This chapter’s focus is Zorn’s success during a year-long stay in the United States. The artist meets Isabella Stewart Gardner, who becomes his foremost American patron. He paints a portrait of Mrs. Potter Palmer, an important figure at the Chicago World’s Fair, and develops a lifelong friendship with industrialist Charles Deering. The chapter ends with Zorn’s birthday party at Mrs. Gardner’s Beacon St. home in February 1894, after successful exhibitions in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston.

Chapter Six (1894)
The setting is Venice, where the Zorns are the guests of Mrs. Gardner. Zorn is overwhelmed by the charms of the Italian city and the hospitality of his hostess. His inspired portrait of Mrs. Gardner, painted on the balcony of Palazzo Barbaro, is the focal point of the chapter.

Chapter Seven (1895-1896)
Zorn’s second trip to America takes up the greater part of the chapter. In St. Louis he paints portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Adolphus Busch, among others. In New York Zorn paints Mrs. Walter Bacon, a granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt. John Singer Sargent also painted Mrs. Bacon and comparisons are drawn between the two artists. This theme is taken up in succeeding chapters.

Chapter Eight (1896-1898)
Zorn etches the preeminent American sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens and makes a controversial portrait of banker Solomon Loeb for Jacob Schiff. The chapter concludes with Zorn’s trip to Russia at the invitation of Serge Diaghilev, founder of the Ballet Russe.

Chapter Nine (1898-1899)
This chapter explores Zorn’s troubled marriage and his third trip to the United States. The artist has an affair with Emily Bartlett, wife of American sculptor Paul Bartlett. The third trip to America in the winter of 1898 is the subject of the remainder of this chapter. Zorn visits the recently widowed Mrs. Gardner in Boston, where she arranges for him to paint eight portraits. He makes portraits of Grover Cleveland and his wife in Princeton, and a warm friendship develops between the couple and the artist.

Chapter Ten (1899)
The first half of this chapter deals with Zorn’s most negative episode in America. The artist paints three portraits for St. Louis millionaire Henry Clay Pierce, who refuses to pay the $12,000 fee. Zorn’s lawsuit against Pierce, followed closely in the press, is examined in detail. The remainder of the chapter is devoted to Zorn’s portrait painting in Boston and a trip to Chicago to paint architect Daniel Burnham.

Chapter Eleven (1899-1900)
Chapter eleven opens with Zorn’s physical and mental breakdown in Paris during the World’s Fair of 1900. He paints a controversial portrait of Mrs. Elizabeth Sherman Cameron, wife of a Pennsylvania senator and a close friend of Henry Adams. Zorn arrives in New York on his fourth trip and is hailed in the press as a “Prince of Art.” He travels to Pittsburgh as a member of the jury of the Carnegie Institute and is the featured speaker at Founders Day. The chapter concludes with Zorn’s successful out-of-court settlement in the Pierce case.

Chapter Twelve (1901)
Zorn concludes his fourth trip to America. He paints portraits of his attorney Charles Negel, later secretary of commerce and labor under President Taft, and Charles Deering. He also paints several prominent New York businessmen and author Grace Thompson Seton.

Chapter Thirteen (1902-1903)
This chapter gives insight into Zorn’s involvement in preserving the rich folk culture of his native province of Dalarna. He accomplishes this through his many philanthropic activities. The Zorns sponsor dance, music, and handicraft competitions. The creation of Zorn’s monumental statue of Gustav Vasa is recounted. The chapter ends with Zorn establishing a studio in Stockholm. The location is convenient for sailing the Stockholm Archipelago, where he spends summers painting nude models out-of-doors.

Chapter Fourteen (1903-1904)
Zorn travels to America for the fifth time in 1903 and is a guest at Mrs. Gardner’s newly completed Fenway Court (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum). In Chicago he paints Charles Deering’s brother James, the builder of Miami’s Villa Vizcaya. In St. Louis he takes part in the Louisiana Purchase Exposition and paints businessman and philanthropist Robert Brookings, founder of the Brookings Institution.

Chapter Fifteen (1904-1905)
In Washington Zorn etches portraits of President Theodore Roosevelt, and Secretary of State John Hay. He also paints portraits of Senator Marcus Hanna, Congressman Hitt, and Charles Dawes, vice-president under Calvin Coolidge. Henry Adams, whom Zorn visits, admires the Swede’s work. The artist travels to Pasadena with Charles Deering, where he paints portraits of plumbing mogul Richard T. Crane and his young bride.

Chapter Sixteen (1906-1910)
To celebrate his large retrospective exhibition at Durand-Ruel Galleries in Paris in 1906, Zorn etches American expatriate Atherton Curtis, a patron of Henry Ossawa Tanner, as well as Auguste Rodin and Anatole France. Zorn’s sixth trip to America follows, and includes travels to Key West, Florida, and Cuba. Zorn survives an earthquake in Mexico City, then makes his way north to New York via San Antonio and New Orleans. He has a major exhibition of etchings in New York. The chapter ends with a description of his activities leading to his last trip to America; his participation in the Venice Biennale and Berlin Secession of 1909, his painting of King Gustav V, and etching of author August Strindberg. In Berlin he paints a portrait of David Jayne Hill, the U.S. ambassador to Germany.

Chapter Seventeen (1911)
Zorn’s last trip to the United States begins in Washington, D.C., where he paints portraits of President William Howard Taft, Vice-President James. S. Sherman, and Senator Nelson Aldrich. In New York City he paints Andrew Carnegie’s portrait.

Chapter Eighteen (1911-1914)
This chapter relates Zorn’s activity up to the beginning of World War I, including several trips to the Mediterranean.

Chapter Nineteen (1914-1916)
Chapter nineteen describes Zorn’s isolation from international activity during World War I and how the quality of his work and health decline. Zorn paints scenes from the rustic life of his youth with sensitivity. His contact with America is largely limited to the United States Ambassador to Sweden Ira Morris, a Chicagoan, and his family. He paints portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Morris and their daughter.

Chapter Twenty (1917-1920)
Anders and Emma Zorn make their joint will, leaving their collection of art and antiquities to the Swedish government. They begin plans for the Zorn Museum in Mora. Zorn dies in August 1920.

Chapter Twenty-One (Epilogue)
Mrs. Zorn and Isabella Stewart Gardner continue a heartfelt correspondence. This chapter centers on Anders Zorn’s posthumous reputation and describes memorial exhibitions in Stockholm and at the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh. Emma Zorn lives long enough (1942) to see the Zorn Museum open in Mora in 1939.

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