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Important Spring Sale presents an important work by Anders Zorn

"Från Sandhamn"

This painting from 1906 is an excellent example of the theme within Anders Zorn's artistic oeuvre sometimes referred to as "nude in open-air". It was in the late 1880s, during summer stays at Dalarö, that Zorn began to depict the naked woman in the sunny archipelago nature. He returned to this motif throughout the rest of his career, bringing him great success and fame.

The "nude in open-air" paintings were often not only studies of the human body and the greenery of summer but also of the movements of the water surfaces. In his autobiographical notes, he writes in 1886:

"Upon returning to Sweden, we stayed with my mother-in-law at Dalarö, and I immediately began to engage with nature, solving new problems. What seems to have particularly attracted me now was the play of water and reflections, to truly make it move, to set the waves and everything in perspective and scientifically explain everything with meticulous precision. Also, intricate tangles in pine forests and thorn bushes, always with a few figures whose vibrant colors punctuated the otherwise monotonous canvas."

"Zorn's paintings from /.../ ultimately also revolve around the movements of water: the interplay between wave crests and troughs with their bright sun reflections and dark shadows resonate with the perspective and gradually merge with the high horizon, both through the increasingly brightening color and through the seemingly diminishing movements of the water surface." Johan Cederlund (ed.), "Zorn's Masterpieces," 2010, p. 42.


As a plein-air painter, he started from the light values of the motif. In French, this technique is called enveloppe. In Jules Adeline's "Lexique des termes d’art," envelopper means to veil the motif through soft modeling by making the objects and figures in the image have less sharp contours so that they merge with the surrounding atmosphere. In his plein air painting, Zorn managed to achieve a cohesive play of light without the transition between mediums becoming too noticeable – the paint is evenly and smoothly applied over the surface of the painting. The depiction of light outdoors and the rendering of fabrics and skin were hardly new challenges for the watercolourist Zorn. When he transitioned to oil painting, he had the opportunity to thin the pigments with turpentine. Over the canvas weave, he could alternately work with areas where the paint was dense and others where the pigments were thinned. When he abandoned watercolour techniques in favor of the more viscous oil painting, he lost transparency but gained saturation in color. The transition to oil painting was for him mainly a matter of complementing his familiar watercolour technique with the limited palette of the tonal painter. The thick oil paint required stronger brushes, both round and flat, and instead of the watercolourist's sponge, the knife was available as an auxiliary tool.

In "Från Sandhamn," Zorn has fully utilized all the nuances present on his artistic palette, and in a snapshot conveys the combined grandeur. In his beloved archipelago, the artist found a timeless motif that allowed him to explore various painterly aspects in the light-filled plein air painting. He masterfully depicts the light's reflections in the water and on the model's body, where the sun shines on her legs through foliage outside the painting. At first glance, the motif seems to convey just what the artist always strived for, a direct slice of reality. At the same time, there is an element of mystery. What does she see? Why does she hesitate on the cliff?

Brummer writes in his book "For the Delight of the Eye and the Nation's Enrichment – Anders Zorn" about the 1906 auction painting "Från Sandhamn": "The summer sailing takes place in the Stockholm archipelago. In July, he is in Sandhamn. 'What I have done here I believe is the best. I was going to make my final effort on an evening scene but there sat (an) annoying priest from Clara with his sons fishing for perch.' This evening scene has been titled FRÅN SANDHAMN." p. 307.




Will be sold at Important Spring Sale

Estimate 5 000 000 - 7 000 000 SEK

To the work


Viewing June 5 – 10, Berzelii Park 1, Stockholm
Open weekdays 11 am – 6 pm, weekends 11 am – 4 pm
Live auction June 11 – 13, Arsenalsgatan 2, Stockholm

Read more about the auction and discover the full catalogue



All works by Anders Zorn Important Spring Sale



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