Lot 325
  • 325

Anders Zorn Swedish, 1860-1920

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  • Anders Zorn
  • Sommarlandskap, Gopsmor (Summer Landscape, Gopsmor)

  • signed and dated Zorn / 1917 l.r.

  • oil on canvas


Edw. Fries, Stockholm (acquired from the artist on 12 April 1918)
By descent from the above to the present owners


Stockholm, Konstföreningen, Zorns utställning. Till förmån för Röda Stärnan, 1918, no. 21
Stockholm, Liljevalchs Konsthall, Anders Zorn. Minnesutställning, 1924, no. 188a

Catalogue Note

As the present landscape attests, it is in Zorn's evocations of his Swedish homeland that the soul of his paintings lies. In such hymns to his ancestral roots, a figure is often prominent: a local girl in costume, a milkmaid or a figure such as the village blacksmith. Or, through his study of the female nude, the poetry of a moment is crystallised in the placement of one or more models in a landscape setting. Such figuration, however, is not always present in his work, and over the years Zorn, with surprising frequency, returned to the contemplation of the landscape without recourse to the addition of any human activity or presence.

In so doing in the present work Zorn creates a remarkable sense of absence. Depicting the lush vegetation of his Mora homeland, traces of a path lead the viewers’ eye through a clearing. The subject of the painting has, it would seem, in perhaps a moment of coyness stepped momentarily out of the canvas. The viewer is inclined to follow.

Zorn's interest in pure landscape had certainly been aroused by the work of Gustave Courbet. Zorn would have seen Courbet's paintings when he first went to Paris in 1881 and stayed with Ernst Josephson, who greatly encouraged Zorn's interest in the Frenchman's work. On his extensive travels across Europe in succeeding years Zorn often summed up in a landscape sketch a view that captured the essence of a particular place; in Clovelly for example in 1884 (fig. 1) or in Algiers three years later when he executed Algiers from Jardin d'Essai.

From his earliest years in watercolour to his later oil such as the present example, however, the scenery that he was attracted to most frequently was the landscape of his native Mora, a landscape to which he had an especially strong attachment.

Born on his father's farm in Mora in Dalarna, Zorn had been raised there by his grandparents. His mother, to whom he was devoted, lived there all her life, and despite his frequent trips abroad and his extended stays first in England, then Paris and thereafter America, Zorn was deeply attached to Mora, the region of Dalarna and all that it represented to him. In the summer of 1888 he bought a plot of land there, and re-housed his mother in better accommodation. Then, after spending successive summers there, in 1895 he and Emma his wife, embarked on extensive alterations to their Mora cottage and established a studio in an adjacent farm house. Underlining his commitment to the area in 1902 he spent the best part of a year realising his monumental sculpture of the 16th century Dalarna folk hero Gustav Vasa. In turn, from his informal encouragement of local dancing, games, folk music and handicrafts grew Zorn's ‘Playhouse’, the catalyst for the establishment of the Mora Folk High School and the Mora Handicrafts Association. Simultaneous with these activities was the creation of Gopsmor, a romantic idea that Zorn realised when he built the hamlet of log houses on the bank of the river Dalalven at the foot of mount Gopsmor.

This lot is sold with the original receipt for the painting signed by the artist (fig. 2).