My Inspirations

Anders Zorn (Sweden’s Master Painter)

Anders Zorn: Sweden’s Master Painter

Born 1860, died 1920

One of my favorite painters of all time is the Swedish painter, Anders Zorn. Many people are unfamiliar with the work of this great artist. There is little of his work to be found in the United States, I am sad to say. The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston have major works by Zorn included in their collections. Zorn also painted three American Presidents,  one of whom was Grover Cleveland in 1899, as well as his wife, along with William H. Taft and Theodore Roosevelt.  A portrait of President Taft hangs in the Blue Room in the White House. His oils are masterful in their bold brushwork and harmonious in their limited palette. He was superb at painting portraits and quickly gained great success becoming a rival to the great portrait painter, John Singer Sargent (another of my all time favorites) .


His ability to paint water in watercolor is unmatched in my opinion.


Zorn is well known for limiting his colors to as few as three colors, enabling him to create works with beautiful color harmony. His colors of choice were a cool black (such as Ivory Black), raw sienna, and vermillion (try Rembrandt’s brand of Permanent Red Medium for a close match) .


You will be amazed at the range of colors that can be mixed from these few. I hope to post some examples of painting portraits with the Zorn palette in the future.

To see examples of his work and to read about the recent exhibition at The Legion of Honor in San Francisco, click here.

To see an upcoming exhibition of Anders Zorn at the National Academy Museum in Manhattan, NY   February 27, 2014 to May 18, 2014 click here.