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)
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