Lot 46
  • 46

Anders Zorn

120,000 - 180,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Anders Zorn
  • Portrait of Harald Bildt
  • signed Zorn and dated 1908 (upper right)
  • oil on canvas


Ebiltsgard, Orust, Sweden 
Sale: Norden Auktioner, Stockholm, November 30, 1995, lot 214
Sale: Bukowskis, Stockholm, May 26, 2003, lot 161, illustrated
Sale: Christie's, London, June 15, 2005, lot 169, illustrated
Acquired from the above sale


Stockholm, Konstföreningen, Anders Zorn-Utsällningen, 1912


Gerda Boëthius, Anders Zorn-Tecknaren, Malaren, Etsaren, Skulptören, Stockholm, 1949, pp. 447 and 551 (under no. 1906)
Hans Henrik Brummer, Zorn - Självbiografiska anteckningar, Stockholm, 1982, pp. 142, 231-233
Birgitta Sandström, Anders Zorn - Självbiografiska Anteckningar, Stockholm, 2004, p. 227

Catalogue Note

Anders Zorn's technical virtuosity, personal vivacity and instinct for color and composition caught the attention of a dedicated international audience.  He was praised in his native Sweden and greatly esteemed in London, Paris and America, earning substantial commissions at a time when society portraiture was a competitive, elevated and fashionable discipline.  Zorn, like his contemporaries John Singer Sargent, Giovanni Boldini, James McNeill Whistler, Joaquín Sorolla and William Merritt Chase, among many others, chronicled and celebrated the great luminaries of the era; their efforts provide us with a phenomenal visual archive of an elite group who represented the optimistic and enthusiastic spirit of their generation.

In the present work, Zorn has portrayed the Swedish Diplomat and King's Chamberlain, Harald Bildt. The son of diplomat Carl Bildt and his American wife Liljan Moore, Harald Bildt was born in England in 1876 but spent his childhood in Rome. He was employed by the Swedish Foreign Ministry in 1899 and worked as an attaché, a counsellor and First Secretary around the world,  including Cairo, Rome and Buenos Aires. The present portrait was painted 1908, after Bildt received the medal of the Order of Knights (Riddartecknet), which was founded by the Spanish King Carlos III. In 1912 he was appointed a Chamberlain of the Swedish Royal King (Kammarherren).

Although this work is carefully composed, Zorn lends a feeling of improvisation through his free-form brushwork and by creating the impression of having captured the subject at a glance. The artist Axel Reinhold Lingholm described the artist's way of working: “It is no paradox when I say that Zorn painted carefully, he painted quickly. Each brushstroke was precisely calculated before being executed. First the hand described the necessary motion in the air, and then the stroke was performed with style and confidence. Despite alterations caused by the model’s movements, Zorn never painted anything, not the least thing, haphazardly” (as quoted in Johan Cederlund, Hans Henrik Brummer, Per Hedström, James A. Ganz, Anders Zorn, Sweden’s Master Painter, exh. cat., Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, 2013, p. 17).