“A dazzling colour capriccio, something so perfectly
piquant not even a Frenchman could have...”
Electric light had reached Gothenburg, and the Fürstenberg home at Södra Hamngatan 2 was one of the first to be lit up. The effect of electric light, combined with the shadows from the heavy 19th century interiors and the late evening light, was magical. Zorn managed to capture that magic in his painting “Natteffekt” (Night Effect), which Pontus Fürstenberg acquired in 1895.
The scene with the woman dressed in red at a café in the Paris night was painted by Zorn while he was renting a studio on the Boulevard de Clichy. While in the art metropolis of Paris, Zorn wanted to depict the pulsating city life, the decadent, intoxicating and intensely exciting love that smelt of absinth and perfume. Zorn worked hard to capture the special light and the particular fin-de-siècle atmosphere.
In the corner room overlooking Södra Hamngatan and Brunnsparken, you step straight into the piquant nightlife of this decadent big city at the turn of the century. The trams rattling past on the street below might just as well be the carriages and omnibuses going to the all-night cabarets, brasseries and cafés as the 19th century became the vibrant 20th century. Welcome back to la vie moderne with its electrifying and bohemian atmosphere.Read more
For many, Anders Zorn is best known for his female bathers and the voyeuristic gaze camouflaged by the innocent environment of Dalarna. But Zorn was a world traveller who achieved huge international success during his lifetime. He was one of the few “Opponents” who crossed the Atlantic and made a name for himself in America. The gossipy letters he wrote home to Fürstenberg are testament to that. These letters were written on the stationery of the various hotels and artists’ clubs he visited in America, clearly indicating what a citizen of the world he had become.
But even a famous and wealthy artist could come cap in hand, begging for money sometimes. With self-distance and humour he wrote to Pontus Fürstenberg: “I have started several letters to you but not finished them. They always began with a request, and so I felt ashamed. But I have come increasingly to realise that begging is my calling.”
Of course, his calling also included the constant search for compelling motifs that, whether they depicted his wife Emma, a port in Algiers or a Parisian street-walker dressed in red, were always brimming with atmosphere. “Natteffekt” was especially well received by art critics in Berlin when it was exhibited at the Internationale Kunstausstellung in 1896. The painting was described as a “dazzling colour capriccio, something so perfectly piquant not even a Frenchman could have...” As this work of art was such a success in Berlin, it was not surprising that Pontus Fürstenberg looked into buying it to add to his now very considerable art collection in Gothenburg.
Anders Zorn was, in many ways, a giant among the Fürstenberg’s circle of artist friends. He was lauded and praised constantly and, unlike Ernst Josephson, was not rejected by the Salon in Paris, but rewarded with medals for his virtuoso brushwork, which always seemed to appeal to critics. He even managed to seduce the Swedish court, and received countless commissions as a portrait painter of several royals.