Anders Zorn (Swedish, 1860-1920)
Anders L. Zorn was represented by one very perfect work called ‘The Cigarette Girl’ which was lent by Robert W. De Forest, New York. It is a chic study of the present day woman and represents Zorn at his best. -Academy Notes, Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, 1920 PROPERTY FROM A DISTINGUISHED NEW YORK COLLECTION
Anders Zorn (Swedish, 1860-1920)

The Cigarette Girl

Anders Zorn (Swedish, 1860-1920)
The Cigarette Girl
signed and dated 'ZORN/1892' (lower left)
oil on canvas
20 7/8 x 18 1/8 in. (52.7 x 46.2 cm.)
The artist.
Robert W. de Forest (1848-1931), New York, acquired at the Chicago World's Fair in 1893.
Thence by descent to the present owner.
The Studio, 'Studio-Talk', vol. 7, no. 38, May 1896, p. 249.
Bulletin of the Art Institute of Chicago, vol. 14, no. 3, March 1920, illustrated p. 86.
Academy Notes, Collection of Paintings from the Foreign Section of the Carnegie Institute International Exhibition at the Albright Art Gallery, Vol. 16, No. 1, January - June 1921, p. 27.
G. Boëthius, Anders Zorn: An International Swedish Artist, His Life and Works, Stockholm, 1954, p. 52.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Representative works of Contemporary Swedish Artists, 13 November - 5 December 1895, no. 87, as Cigarette Smoker (this exhibition subsequently traveled to The Cincinnati Museum; Cincinnati, The Art Institute of Chicago; Chicago, The St. Louis School and Museum of Fine Arts; St. Louis, The Boston Art Club; Boston, The Pratt Institute of Brooklyn; Brooklyn, through 1896).
Brooklyn, Brooklyn Museum, Swedish Art Exhibition, 30 January 1916 - 28 February 1916, p. 75, no. 251.
Pittsburgh, Carnegie Institute, The Nineteenth Annual International Exhibition of Paintings, 29 April - 30 June 1920, no. 371.
Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, A Group of Foreign Paintings from the Carnegie Institute International Exhibition, 27 July - 15 September 1920, p. [5], no. 113.
Buffalo, The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy Albright Art Gallery, A Collection of Foreign Paintings from the Carnegie Institute International Exhibition : supplemented by other foreign works, and a group of recent paintings by Auguste Émile René Ménard, 10-31 October 1920, p. 11, no. 113.
Sale room notice
Please note that this lot is displayed in a loaner frame from Eli Wilner and is available for sale. Please contact the department for details.

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Lot Essay

From its creation in 1892, The Cigarette Girl has accrued a fascinating history. Acquired in 1893 at the Chicago World’s Fair—in which the Swedish Exhibit was inarguably the highlight—the work has remained within the same family since and benefits from exceptional provenance. Hailed by an art critic as ‘representing Zorn at his best’, this painting has never appeared on the auction market.

During the 1890s Zorn was occupied with an impressive itinerary of commissioned portraiture in America. The original owner of The Cigarette Girl, Mr. Robert W. de Forest, modeled for Zorn (fig. 1) and the two ‘dined and went to the theater’ together during the artist’s return trips to New York (W. & W. Hagans, Zorn in America: A Swedish Impressionist of the Gilded Age, Chicago, 2009, p. 213). De Forest, a prominent New York attorney at the time, was known for balancing his business and artistic interests and eventually succeeded J. Pierpont Morgan as president of the Metropolitan Museum of Art from 1913 until his death in 1931 (Ibid., p. 187). The family's connection to the museum is further strengthened by the fact that de Forest’s wife was the daughter of John Taylor Johnston, the founding president of the Metropolitan Museum in 1870.

During its tenure with the de Forests, The Cigarette Girl served as a highlight in numerous important exhibitions across the United States and received positive reviews in several significant art journals. It was one of a small group of paintings by Zorn included in the seminal traveling exhibition Representative Works of Contemporary Swedish Artists that toured six major American museums from 1895-96 as a result of the Swedish success at the World’s Fair. In a review of the exhibition, The Cigarette Girl was honored specifically: ‘The collection of oil paintings by living Swedish masters, at the Boston Art Club last month, was most interesting and refreshing. Zorn was represented by seven examples… one of a girl with a cigarette was the pièce de résistance, for its simple naturalness and charm, notwithstanding its objectiveness’ (‘Studio-Talk’, The Studio, vol. 7, May 1896, p. 249). Twenty years later it was lent to the Brooklyn Museum for a Swedish art exhibition (fig. 2), and in 1920 The Cigarette Girl was shown in an exhibition at the Carnegie Institute where Zorn was highly regarded, having painted a portrait of Andrew Carnegie in 1911 and served on the selection committee. Subsequently the work traveled to Chicago and Buffalo as a Carnegie Institute exhibition highlight. It is evident that Zorn, in addition to myriad exhibition curators and critics, felt that The Cigarette Girl was a superlative example in his oeuvre.

(fig. 1) Anders Zorn, Mr. Robert Weeks de Forest, a notable New York lawyer and philanthropist, Museum of the City of New York

(fig. 2) Swedish Art Exhibition [30 January-28 February 1916], Installation view, Brooklyn Museum Archives. Records of the Office of the Director (W.H. Fox, 1913-33)

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