Girls Bathing (In the Open Air), 1890
Anders Zorn
Swedish, 1860-1920
Oil on canvas, 69 x 101.5 cm
Ateneum, Helsinki

Female nudes in the open air provide the motifs for which Anders Zorn is most famous. His more routine productions in this genre have also helped to sully his name and obscure the qualities that can be seen in other areas of his oeuvre. In the Open Air, the first large version of which is in Göteborg Museum of Art, was however painted in 1888 and belongs to the early period when Zorn had found the inspiration for these motifs during a summer holiday at Dalarö in Stockholm's archipelago. In contrast to the classical tradition, Zorn devotes the same attention to the figures as to the countyside, rendering the nudes as part of the depiction of the landscape.

Zorn observes in his autobiographical notes that he had nothing on which to model this motif and the main source of inspiration was probably the water and the interplay of light and reflections.

The version exhibited here was made in 1890 for the Finnish collector H.F. Antell a year after a medal had been awarded to the original work at the Paris Salon.


This exhibition has been organized by the Nordic National Galleries