Anders Zorn: Sweden’s Painter-Etcher

Through July 31, 2016

Little known today, Anders Zorn (Swedish, 1860–1920) was one of the most famous artists at the turn of the twentieth century. Based in Paris, he was among a group of artists that sought to raise the status of etching to that of painting. Calling themselves “painters-etchers,“ and seeing themselves as part of the tradition of master artists such as Rembrandt, they used etching to explore and show the world in a new way. Zorn was esteemed for his active and bold etching technique and his masterful use of parallel and crosshatched lines to create images. This is the first exhibition in which all eighteen of Zorn’s prints in the Museum’s Collection—ranging in subject from noble portraits to peasant life in Sweden—will be on view.

Museum Blog: From the Collection

Did you know that Anders Zorn might be the most famous artist you’ve never heard of?

During his career, which spanned about 20 years before and 20 years after 1900, Zorn was in high demand for painted portrait commissions in Europe and in the U.S. In fact, he was in direct competition with John Singer Sargent (American, 1856–1925), one of the best known portrait painters at the turn of the twentieth century.

So, who was Anders Zorn?

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  • Anders Leonard Zorn, Zorn and his Wife, 1890. Etching, possibly drypoint, and graphite. Milwaukee Art Museum, Gertrude Nunnemacher Schuchardt Collection, presented by William H. Schuchardt M1924.141. Photo by John R. Glembin.