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Anders Zorn in the Gilded Age Previous Broadcasts

KQED 9: Sun, Jan 12, 2014 -- 2:00 PM

In the gilded age of the 1890s, a boy of modest means - Anders Leonard Zorn (1860-1920) - grew up to be a portrait painter for the Swedish monarchy and American presidents. In this documentary filmed at the ZornMuseet in Mora, Sweden, Anders Zorn's story is told by museum director Johan Cederlund and other Zorn experts from Stockholm's Nationalmuseum, San Francisco's Legion of Honor, and Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.
Zorn displayed his artistic abilities at an early age. When he was 12 his absent father died leaving a small inheritance that was wisely applied to his education. In 1885 he married Emma Lamm, who was from a cultured Jewish family in Stockholm, and it was through her that Zorn would gain entree to Swedish high society. In his mid-20s, living and working part of the time in England and France, he would return each year for long stays in Sweden. At the age of 29, his portraits and female nudes were such a success at the Exposition Universelle, the 1889 World's Fair held in Paris, that Zorn was appointed Chevalier de l'Order National de la Legion d'Honneur. He was invited to participate in the Columbian Exposition, the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, where he met Isabella Stewart Gardner, the noted Boston art collector; she would became his life-long friend and benefactor. He made numerous trips to the United States over the decade and among his most significant American portraits were those of presidents Grover Cleveland and William Howard Taft. His portraits of the powerful, that also included depictions of European royalty and American captains of industry, represent half of Zorn's oeuvre, with the other half being his paintings of everyday Swedish life. Together they have made him Sweden's premier painter.

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