Eye Candy for Today: Anders Zorn etched portrait of Augustus Saint Gaudens

Augustus Saint Gaudens II (Saint Gaudens and his Model), Anders Zorn, etching

Augustus Saint Gaudens II (Saint Gaudens and his Model), Anders Zorn, etching (details)
Augustus Saint Gaudens II (Saint Gaudens and his Model), Anders Zorn

Etching and drypoint, roughly 5 x 8 inches (14 x 20 cm); in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; downloadable large image on Wikimedia Commons

Zorn is one of my favorite etchers (after only Rembrandt and Whistler), and his mastery shows here in his portrait of his friend, Irish/American sculptor Augustus Saint Gaudens.

In a tour-de-force of etching chiaroscuro, Saint Gaudens’ face is revealed in half light, and the figure of his model emerges gradually from the background darkness. Zorn’s seemingly casual lines sweep across the figures in sections that vary in direction and textural effect.

Zorn has not used aquatint here, the gray tones appear to be achieved by the way the print was inked and wiped.

For more, see my post on Anders Zorn’s etchings.

 
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4 Replies to “Eye Candy for Today: Anders Zorn etched portrait of Augustus Saint Gaudens”

  1. Anders Zorn died in Mora, on the August, 22nd, 1920.

    He left behind a huge fortune, in todays money worth well over 6 million American dollars. Then of course there were buildings, airplanes, boats, land and a pretty respected art collection. Before his death he donated money to numerous institutions, and financed the building of a school and a children day-care center in Mora. In his will, he made it very clear that all of his belongings were to be placed in the hands of the Swedish state, and included instructions and means for a cultural institution called the Zorn museum. He also made sure that the building in Stockholm, where he held his studio, was restored and prevented from ever being demolished. Today, the museum includes his home, a new building that was raised for his paintings, his forrest cottage “Gopsmor” and other local landmarks.
    Source: artgraphica.net

  2. Hm, very curious about “the gray tones appear to be achieved by the way the print was inked and wiped”. Is there a more in depth explanation how this is done? I always thought with etchings the ink would be retained in the grooves only, while here it creates a faint halo in the area of the grooves( It really got the look of stumping, by the way)! How could it be controlled just so?

  3. The artist/printmaker can choose to lightly wipe the plate so that a thin film of ink is left in areas where the surface of the plate is not cut, achieving a kind of smudged halftone. This is more difficult to control and provides less accuracy than deliberate halftone etching effects like aquatint and mezzotint.

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