Mora, whither one travels along the banks of historic Siljan, is justly proud of her world famed son; for Zorn, one of the most brilliant and most powerful painters of the day, is the son of a Dalar peasant. When he was a raw lad presented himself before some big Academician in the capital, and broached his wishes and his ambition, the great man good naturedly advised the youth to go back to his village, suggesting I believe, the more humble though no less honourable vocation of a village shoemaker – “for you will never become a painter!” “Oh yes, I shall,” Zorn quietly replied; and he was right. Zorn can do anything; he paints in oil and water colour, he etches, he carves, he is a sculptor, he works in gold and silver, and he does all things well. He has a brilliant technique, a wonderful verve; he can fasten to his canvas a movement, a step in an unsurpassable manner, can endow a portrait with a power, a plastic emphasis, which almost makes it leave the frame. He too is fond of colour – at least in some of his pictures of the comedy of Dalar women, in their picturesque national dresses. Of King Oscar, with whom he has cruised on board the Drott, Zorn has painted a magnificent likeness, as he has of Prince Carl, “the blue Prince,” whereas Prince Eugen is, or was, “the red Prince,” on account of his liberal views, I believe. Zorn paints portraits in Hungary, in Spain, in the United States; he hunts in Leicestershire, and runs on snow shoes, with Prince Eugen for instance, in his beloved Dalarna. He is at the same time a complete cosmopolitan – both he and Mme Zorn speak English to perfection – and a true Northerner.
At Mora he has built himself a charming house – “of timber from my own forest,” he says with pardonable pride; of fine, smooth beams in many places appearing unadorned, whilst in other rooms there is costly Louis XVI furniture, old masters and various objets d’art – for Zorn has sundry hobbies, old silver jugs amongst others; one of his proudest possessions, however, is a fairly modest modern cup – a prize Zorn took with his yacht at regatta not long ago, for he is also a yachtsman.
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