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Colorado Public Television Celebrates Swedish Artists with Two Original Documentaries


Artists Birger Sandzén and Anders Zorn to be featured in Boxing Day Lineup

December 20, 2013 (Denver, CO) – Colorado Public Television once again celebrates Swedish art and culture on December 26 beginning at 7 p.m. with two CPT12 original documentaries that feature Swedish artists, Birger Sandzén and Anders Zorn. In partnership with documentarian Joshua Hassel, CPT12 is delighted to shine its lens on two Swedish artists with an encore airing of Sandzén: Ecstasy of Color and the Colorado debut of Anders Zorn in the Gilded Age.

Anders Zorn in the Gilded Age
Airs Thursday, December 26 at 8 p.m. on

In the gilded age of the 1890s, a boy of modest means – Anders Leonard Zorn (1860-1920) – grew up to be a portrait painter for the Swedish monarchy and American presidents. In this documentary filmed at the ZornMuseet in Mora, Sweden, Anders Zorn's story is told by museum director Johan Cederlund and other Zorn experts from Stockholm's National Museum, San Francisco's Legion of Honor, and Boston's Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

Zorn displayed his artistic abilities at an early age. When he was 12 his absent father died leaving a small inheritance that was wisely applied to his education. In 1885 he married Emma Lamm, who was from a cultured Jewish family in Stockholm, and it was through her that Zorn would gain entree to Swedish high society. In his mid-20s, living and working part of the time in England and France, he would return each year for long stays in Sweden. At the age of 29, his portraits and female nudes were such a success at the Exposition Universelle, the 1889 World's Fair held in Paris, that Zorn was appointed Chevalier de l'Order National de la Legion d'Honneur. He was invited to participate in the Columbian Exposition, the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, where he met Isabella Stewart Gardner, the noted Boston art collector; she would became his life-long friend and benefactor. He made numerous trips to the United States over the decade and among his most significant American portraits were those of presidents Grover Cleveland and William Howard Taft. His portraits of the powerful, that also included depictions of European royalty and American captains of industry, represent half of Zorn's oeuvre, with the other half being his paintings of everyday Swedish life. Together they have made him Sweden's premier painter.

Sandzén: Ecstasy of Color
Airs Thursday, December 26 at 7 p.m. on CPT12.1

Often compared with Van Gogh, Sandzén was part of the Swedish National Movement that adapted impressionist and pointillist styles with subject matter native to his homeland. With his immigration to Lindsborg, Kansas in 1894 and to Bethany College where he would later become Director of the Art Department, Sandzén began to capture the color and drama of his new home. With adventures into Colorado and the entire southwest, Sandzén found his visual voice in a thick impasto style.

“Once again we’re excited to highlight the life and work of two Swedish master painters,” said Kim Johnson, Interim General Manager and Chief Operating Officer of CPT12. “These programs offer a glimpse of the diverse and high quality programming that CPT12 creates and presents, providing opportunities for our audience to learn and discover interesting the facets of our communities, state and world.”

“Working with art scholars and museum curators in Sweden and the United States these two documentaries underline the impact of Swedish visual culture on American art, commented documentarian Joshua Hassel. “Post impressionist Anders Zorn gained international success during the Gilded Age. Zorn was the influential friend and instructor of the vibrant modernist painter Birger Sandzen.”

Photos Available for Download

Anders Zorn in the Gilded Age
Anders Zorn in the Gilded Age

In the Gilded Age artist Anders Zorn (1860 – 1920) became the society painter of Swedish royalty and American presidents. While his modern portraits filled his coffers it was Zorn’s deeply felt and excellently executed oil paintings of everyday Swedish life along with his studies of female nudes in nature that would win him a lasting international reputation as Sweden’s premier painter. Pictured: Midnight, 1891.

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