Two Swedish Masters
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How it was and how it could be: Anders Zorn and Carl Larsson - Two Swedish Masters
Anders Zorn made his name at the age of 26 with a painting called 'Our Daily Bread', saying that he had wanted 'to paint a cultural scene showing what I had loved and known best: the field and ditch where I played as a child while the grown ups were harvesting…' Success followed success in Sweden, across Europe and as far afield as the United States, with Zorn developing a style akin to John Singer-Sargent and Joaquin Sorolla, with both of whom he had a friendly rivalry. Despite all of this, he returned to Dalarna, the rural area where he had grown up, where he was a great supporter of the rich folk tradition, painting 'what used to be', in the hope that it would continue. Meanwhile Carl Larsson, born into poverty in the Old Town of Stockholm, somehow found a way out of his disorderly childhood, first to art school and then to Paris, where he met the woman who would be his lifetime partner - both as wife and collaborator - Karin Bergöö. An artist and designer, she also acted as his chief model, and a sounding board for his ideas about art. Together they designed the ideal life, embodied in the book A Home - akin to an Arts and Crafts manifesto about how we could be living. It is the perfect fulfilment of William Morris's dictum 'Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful'. Together, Zorn and Larsson - with more than a little help from Karin - are the paragons of painting in 19th and early 20th Century Sweden, producing glorious, richly coloured, light-filled works best appreciated in the glowing light of late Summer...