Perhaps the most celebrated Swedish painter, Anders Zorn received international acclaim for his personable and captivating portraits. Trained at the Royal Swedish Academy of Arts in Stockholm from 1875 to 1880, he impressed his teachers and quickly became the favored painter of the Swedish élite. His clientele grew as he began to travel to London, Paris, and in the United States, painting and drawing portraits of European nobility as well as of three American presidents.
An early self-portrait by Zorn, this work dates ca. 1885 when the artist was in his mid-twenties. The young artist had just married Emma Lamm and was on the cusp of international success. In consideration of its particularly intimate scale, this portrait contrasts intriguingly with Zorn’s grander, later painted self-portraits such as Self-portrait with fur, 1915 in the Zorn Museum, Mora (Der Schwedische Impressionist: Anders Zorn 1860-1920, Petersberg, 2012, pl. 75). Unlike in his large canvases, the focus of this work is on his physiognomy rather than the luxury of his clothing and furnishings. The limited color palette and turned head add to the attraction of this dynamic and vivid portrayal.