President William H. Taft II. 1911. Original etching. Hjert and Hjert 165.iv. 9 7/8 x 8 (sheet 14 3/8 x 11 7/8). A fine impression with plate tone, printed on cream laid 'Van Gelder Zonen' paper with full margins. Signed in pencil by Zorn; dedicated in ink 'For Laurence Bradman with best wishes of Wm H Taft Jany 20, 1922.' $3,250.
In 1893, the Columbian World Fair was arranged in Chicago. Zorn was chosen as the superintendent of the Swedish art exhibition and travelled to the United States. He stayed for almost a year. This trip to the USA, the first of seven, was very important for him. Zorn enjoyed the American lifestyle and felt at home there. This first trip to the States was also of great importance for his art. Subsequent visits to the USA were in 1896-1897, and 1898-1899, 1900-1901, 1903-1904, 1907, and 1911. He generally travelled during the fall, winter and spring. The 1907 trip was primarily for pleasure, but the others included a large number of paintings, mostly portraits. Naturally, the high points were the commissions to portray American presidents: Grover Cleveland and his wife (1899, National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC) and William Taft, (1911, the White House). He made an etching of Theodore Roosevelt in 1905. One of the benefits of the presidential portraits was the number of commissions that Zorn received in the USA.
William Howard Taft (September 15, 1857 – March 8, 1930) was the twenty-seventh President of the United States, the tenth Chief Justice of the United States, a leader of the progressive conservative wing of the Republican Party in the early 20th century, a pioneer in international arbitration and staunch advocate of world peace verging on pacifism, and scion of a leading political family, the Tafts of Ohio.
Taft served as the United States Solicitor General, a federal appellate judge, Governor-General of the Philippines, and Secretary of War before being nominated for President at the 1908 Republican National Convention with the backing of his predecessor and close friend Theodore Roosevelt. Taft's presidency was characterized by trust-busting, strengthening the Interstate Commerce Commission, expanding the civil service, establishing a better postal system, and promoting world peace.
During American involvement in World War I, William Howard Taft served on the National War Labor Board and later supported Wilson`s quest for the League of Nations.
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