Signed Zorn and dated 1916. Relined canvas 92 x 60 cm.
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Private Collection, Great Britain
Liljevalchs konsthall, Stockholm, "Invigningsutställning : Larsson - Liljefors - Zorn", March-April 1916, no 133.
ARKEN Museum for Moderne Kunst, "Anders Zorn og nordisk samtidskunst", 26 June – 5 September 2004.
Gerda Boëthius, ”ZORN. Tecknaren, Målaren, Etsaren, Skulptören”, 1949, listed in the catalogue under the year 1916 p. 554.
In this work, Anders Zorn has depicted young Gods-Kari in the beautiful winter costume of Mora. Gods-Kari's real name was Ester Jansson and she was born in 1897. With the clarity of a master, Zorn has captured the double play of light over the model and the costume. The natural light enters from the left of the painting and plays over the hands and the soft folds of the green skirt. The heat and light from the fireplace, which we can sense outside the image on the right, is reflected in the jacket, colouring God-Kari's cheeks a rosy red. The ivory-white coat and light-coloured shawl almost melt into the wall bathed in winter light. The accent of red in the hairband revealed, for those who were interested, that the woman was still unmarried.
One of Zorn's great ambitions in life was to preserve the culture of his home province and protect it from the excessive changes of industrialism. In his paintings from Mora and the surrounding area, there is often a concern for traditions, for example by highlighting the cultural uniqueness of the traditional dress and thus paying tribute to the people of Dalarna for holding on to their unique history. In 1874 his mother Grubb Anna Andersdotter had married Skeri Anders Andersson, with whom she had four daughters. The family's existence was often difficult and darkened by overcrowding and poverty. When Anders Zorn's career took off in England in the 1880s, he sought to alleviate his mother's situation by sending home small financial contributions. After Zorn acquired some of the Skeri farm land near Mora church in 1886, he also began using members of the Grubb and Skeri families as models for his paintings, such as "Our Daily Bread" (National Museum). The models had to "dress old-fashioned" because he wanted to recreate the local traditions of his childhood. Throughout his life, Zorn was committed to the "preservation of the national costume", and his depictions of the local men and women reflect his desire to realistically depict the traditional dress of Dalarna for posterity.
Anders Zorn, born in Mora in 1860, showed artistic talent from a young age. In 1875, he traveled to Stockholm and became a student at the then Slöjdskolan (now Tekniska högskolan) in Stockholm, and shortly after, he joined the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. Initially, Zorn had aspirations of becoming a sculptor, but soon watercolor painting took over, becoming his primary medium until 1887. At the student exhibition in 1880, Zorn had his breakthrough with the watercolor painting "I sorg." The following year, he gained international acclaim as a portrait painter. His watercolor painting reached its pinnacle during this period, and his most famous work from this time is "Vårt dagliga bröd” from 1886. Shortly thereafter, Zorn transitioned to oil painting, which was met with immediate success. Zorn's reputation mainly rested on his portrait art, and he portrayed many notable figures, including presidents. For instance, he created an etching of Theodore Roosevelt. His etchings significantly contributed to his success. In the late 1880s, Zorn began working in the genre that would increasingly become his trademark: nude figures in outdoor settings. He had long been fascinated by the movement of water and the reflections of light on its surface. Now, he added the complexity of placing a model near or in the water, aiming to depict a synthesis between nature and humanity. In 1896, Zorn and his wife moved back to Sweden and settled in Zorngården in Mora. This move sparked a renewed interest in his homeland, which would be reflected in his future paintings. Among the artist's scenes from the Mora region, portraying its local customs and ancient traditions, "Midsommardansen" holds the highest value according to Zorn himself. Today, the painting can be found at the National Museum.Read more