Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A FLAWED STRATEGY AND A DUBIOUS ALLY


The Second Indochina War was a war that lasted ten thousand days and it was the war that sparked dozens of riots.
South Vietnam is a land of villages. The villagers are the prize in a 30 year struggle for hearts and minds. The U.S. won the village war but lost South Vietnam.
It began as a determined attempt by Communist guerrillas (the so-called Vietcong) in the South, backed by Communist North Vietnam, to overthrow the government of South Vietnam. The struggle widened into a war between South Vietnam and North Vietnam and ultimately into a limited international conflict. The United States and some 40 other countries supported South Vietnam by supplying troops and munitions, and the USSR and the People's Republic of China furnished munitions to North Vietnam and the Vietcong. On both sides, however, the burden of the war fell mainly on the civilians.
The war also engulfed Laos, where the Communist Pathet Lao fought the government from 1965 to 1973 and succeeded in abolishing the monarchy in 1975; and Cambodia, where the government surrendered in 1975 to the Communist Khmer Rouge.
(© 1993-2009 Microsoft Corporation)
The Viet Cong, the lightly armed South Vietnamese communist insurgency, largely fought a guerrilla war against anti-communist forces in the region.


BombedBuilding
Pictures of the Vietnam War
Photography by Roy C. Gibson Jr.
vietnampictures.us


This one you've seen (a postcard)
It's become the largest item of conversation
Pictures of the Vietnam War
Photography by Roy C. Gibson Jr.
vietnampictures.us


Smoke from body being burned in public
Pictures of the Vietnam War
Photography by Roy C. Gibson Jr.
vietnampictures.us


Pictures of the Vietnam War
Photography by Roy C. Gibson Jr.
vietnampictures.us


Pictures of the Vietnam War
Photography by Roy C. Gibson Jr.
vietnampictures.us


Pictures of the Vietnam War
Photography by Roy C. Gibson Jr.
vietnampictures.us


The North Vietnamese Army engaged in a more conventional war, at times committing large-sized units into battle. U.S. and South Vietnamese forces relied on air superiority and overwhelming firepower to conduct search and destroy operations, involving ground forces, artillery and airstrikes.
The war exacted a huge human cost in terms of fatalities, including 3 to 4 million Vietnamese from both sides, 1.5 to 2 million Laotians and Cambodians, and 58,159 U.S. soldiers.
Various names have been applied to the conflict. Vietnam War is the most commonly used name in English. It has also been called the Second Indochina War, and the Vietnam Conflict. In Vietnamese, the war is known as Chiến tranh Việt Nam (The Vietnam War), or as Kháng chiến chống Mỹ (Resistance War Against America), loosely translated as the American War. As there have been so many conflicts in Indochina, this conflict is known by the name of their chief opponent to distinguish it from the others.

The Second Indochina War means:
Places the conflict into context with other distinct, but related, and contiguous conflicts in Southeast Asia. Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia are seen as the battlegrounds of a larger Indochinese conflict that began at the end of World War II and lasted until communist victory in 1975. This conflict can be viewed in terms of the demise of colonialism and its after-effects during the Cold War.
Vietnam Conflict means:
Largely a U.S. designation, it acknowledges that the United States Congress never declared war on North Vietnam. Legally, the President used his constitutional discretion—supplemented by supportive resolutions in Congress—to conduct what was said to be a “police action”.
Vietnam War means:
Is the most commonly used designation in English.
Resistance War against the American Empire to Save the Nation (Chiến tranh giữ nước chống Đế quốc Mỹ):
The term favored by North Vietnam; it is more of a saying than a name, and its meaning is self-evident. Its usage has been reduced in recent years. The common name for the war is “Chiến tranh Việt Nam” (Vietnam War).
The main military organizations involved in the war were, on the side of the South, the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) and the U.S. military, and, on the side of the North, the Vietnam People's Army (VPA), or North Vietnamese Army (NVA), and the Vietcong, or National Front for the Liberation of South Vietnam (NLF), a communist army based in the South.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)


Army Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) Generals
Pictures of the Vietnam War
Photography by Roy C. Gibson Jr.
vietnampictures.us


Army Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) Generals
Pictures of the Vietnam War
Photography by Roy C. Gibson Jr.
vietnampictures.us

Initial Time Line:
January 1961 - Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev pledges support for "wars of national liberation" throughout the world. His statement greatly encourages Communists in North Vietnam to escalate their armed struggle to unify Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh.
January 20, 1961- John Fitzgerald Kennedy is inaugurated as the 35th U.S. President and declares "...we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to insure the survival and the success of liberty." Privately, outgoing President Eisenhower tells him "I think you're going to have to send troops..." to Southeast Asia.
The youthful Kennedy administration is inexperienced in matters regarding Southeast Asia. Kennedy's Secretary of Defense, 44-year-old Robert McNamara, along with civilian planners recruited from the academic community, will play a crucial role in deciding White House strategy for Vietnam over the next several years. Under their leadership, the United States will wage a limited war to force a political settlement.
However, the U.S. will be opposed by an enemy dedicated to total military victory "...whatever the sacrifices, however long the struggle...until Vietnam is fully independent and reunified," as stated by Ho Chi Minh.
May 1961 - President Kennedy sends 400 American Green Beret 'Special Advisors' to South Vietnam to train South Vietnamese soldiers in methods of 'counter-insurgency' in the fight against Viet Cong guerrillas.
The role of the Green Berets soon expands to include the establishment of Civilian Irregular Defense Groups (CIDG) made up of fierce mountain men known as the Montagnards. These groups establish a series of fortified camps strung out along the mountains to thwart infiltration by North Vietnamese.
Fall - The conflict widens as 26,000 Viet Cong launch several successful attacks on South Vietnamese troops. Diem then requests more military aid from the Kennedy administration.
October 24, 1961 - On the sixth anniversary of the Republic of South Vietnam, President Kennedy sends a letter to President Diem and pledges "the United States is determined to help Vietnam preserve its independence..."
President Kennedy then sends additional military advisors along with American helicopter units to transport and direct South Vietnamese troops in battle, thus involving Americans in combat operations. Kennedy justifies the expanding U.S. military role as a means "...to prevent a Communist takeover of Vietnam which is in accordance with a policy our government has followed since 1954." The number of military advisors sent by Kennedy will eventually surpass 16,000.
December 1961 - Viet Cong guerrillas now control much of the countryside in South Vietnam and frequently ambush South Vietnamese troops. The cost to America of maintaining South Vietnam's sagging 200,000 man army and managing the overall conflict in Vietnam rises to a million dollars per day.
November 22, 1963 - President John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas. Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in as the 36th U.S. President. He is the fourth President coping with Vietnam and will oversee massive escalation of the war while utilizing many of the same policy advisors who served Kennedy.


Photo of President Lyndon B. Johnson
Date 1960s
Source photolab.lbjlib.utexas.edu
Author Arnold Newman, White House Press Office (WHPO)
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Lyndon B. Johnson being sworn in aboard Air Force One
by Federal Judge Sarah T. Hughes
To the right of Johnson is Jacqueline Kennedy, widow of Kennedy
to his left is Mrs. Lady Bird Johnsonand


November 24, 1963 - President Johnson declares he will not "lose Vietnam" during a meeting with Ambassador Lodge in Washington.
By year's end, there are 16,300 American military advisors in South Vietnam which received $500 million in U.S. aid during 1963.
March 1964 - Secret U.S.-backed bombing raids begin against the Ho Chi Minh trail inside Laos, conducted by mercenaries flying old American fighter planes.
(Copyright © 1999 The History Place™)
From 16,000 troops at the end of the Kennedy Administration, the U.S. commitment grew to 184,000 troops by the end of 1965 and reached a peak of 537,000 in the last year (1968) of the Johnson Administration. In a sense, this was a "back door" escalation. There were no dramatic national addresses in which the public was "called to war." In fact, the troop increases were typically announced at mid day with little or no fanfare. And LBJ explicitly refused to put the nation on a war footing and argued, in his 1966 State of the Union message, that the country could have both "guns and butter."
The Johnson Administration essentially found itself in a predicament --- a "political war trap" --- that was a product of the nuclear era, the Cold War, and domestic politics in the United States. The "trap" involved a wavering ally whose regime was threatened. The option of not using military force was discounted for fear of a "communist success" if the ally fell and the domestic repercussions this would trigger. However, it was believed that unrestricted military force --- such as crossing the Yalu River in the Korean War --- threatened to embroil the United States in a superpower confrontation. Johnson believed, for example, that an all out military effort against North Vietnam would trigger a Chinese or Soviet response that could escalate into a nuclear exchange. Given this logic, action was limited to conventional military force designed to achieve limited and political (as opposed to territorial) objectives.
Thus, the administration escalated in response to North Vietnamese actions. Its objective was to inflict a level of pain on the North Vietnamese that was sufficient to make them bargain in earnest. Thus Vietnam became a war of attrition. Johnson would regularly characterize his decisions as taking the middle ground. He would not "pull out" as the "doves" and "nervous Nellies" suggested nor would he go "all out" as the "hawkish" military advisors recommended
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
As the war escalated, demonstrations and other forms of protest become commonplace on university campuses and in major cities of the U.S, including the October 1967 march on the Pentagon.
The protests focused upon American policy in Vietnam, the military draft, connections between universities and the Defense Department as well as Lyndon Johnson himself. The mention of "gaps" became commonplace in political discussions. Lyndon Johnson was said to suffer from a "credibility gap" owing to his campaign as "peace candidate" in 1964. There was a so-called "communications gap" between supporters and opponents of the war. Finally, there was increasing mention of a "generation gap" that divided those who came of age during World War II and those coming of age in the Vietnam era. Criticism of the Johnson Administration grew more widespread and strident because of the increasing number of Americans killed in Vietnam. The number of Americans killed in action rose from a monthly average of 172 during 1965 to an average of 770 in 1967.
In November of 1967, the Administration launched an extensive "public relations" campaign. It was designed to convince Congress, the press, and the public that there was "progress" in Vietnam and that the war was being "won." Johnson was advised to "[E]mphasize light at the end of the tunnel instead of battles, deaths, and danger." "There are ways," Johnson was told, "of guiding the press to show light at the end of the tunnel" (quoted in Larry Berman, Lyndon Johnson's War). To head this effort, Johnson brought General William Westmoreland, commander of American forces in Vietnam, to Washington. Westmoreland addressed the National Press Club saying that the U.S. had reached the point "where the end comes into view" (Berman).


General William Westmoreland
Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army.
Date 1 January 1969
Source defenseimagery.mil
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Vietcong suspect
A Marine from 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines
A search and clear operation
15 miles west of Da Nang Air Base
Date 08/03/1965
Source NARA
Author US Marine Corps /PFC G. Durbin
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Vietnamese Peasants suspected of being communists
Date ca. 1966
Source Library of Congress 'Country Studies Series'
Author U.S. Army Photograph


Dropping bombs on North Vietnam, June 14, 1966
A U.S. B-66 Destroyer and four F-105 Thunderchiefs
National Archives and Records Administration
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Seal team Assault Boat (STAB)
Members of U.S. Navy Seal Team One
River south of Saigon, 11/1967
Source NARA
Author J.D. Randal, JO1
Department of Defense
Department of the Navy
Naval Photographic Center.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


In the wake of this effort, public support of Lyndon Johnson rose. The effects of this effort would be short-lived however. On January 21, 1968, North Vietnamese regular forces launched an attack on the American installation at Khe Sahn, a remote outpost. The attack conjured up fears, especially for LBJ, of Dien Bien Phu and American forces were ordered to hold the base. The seige lasted for over two months and the North Vietnamese were eventually turned back after the base was reinforced in April of 1968.
Khe Sahn was just a prelude however. One of the most controversial interludes of the war began on January 31st, 1968. Early that morning, the North Vietnamese regular army and the Viet Cong launched what came to be called the TET (New Year) offensive. These forces attacked over 100 cities in South Vietnam including 35 of 44 provincial capitals. The offensive included Saigon, the South Vietnamese capital, as Viet Cong guerillas penetrated the U.S. Embassy compound.


Some Viet Cong targets during the Tet Offensive
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


South Vietnamese troops in action
Tan Son Nhut Air Base
From "The General Offensives of 1968-69"
By Colonel Hoang Ngoc Lung
U.S. Army Center of Military History, 1981


In light of the "PR Campaign" of November 1967, the TET offensive came as a shock. How could, critics asked, the enemy mount such a campaign if the war was being won? The fighting continued into February. In January 1968, the number of US troops killed in action was 1,163; the death toll increased to 2,197 in February; in the next three months, another 5,000 would loose their lives in battle.


Battle of Hamo Village During the Tet Offensive
US Marines and ARVN troops
defend a position against enemy attack
Date ca. January 1968
Source National Archives and Records Administration
Author Department of Defense
Department of the Navy. U.S. Marine Corps
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


TET also elevated a debate that began early in the war. In a sense, Vietnam was the first televised or "living room" war. Each evening, the networks would show film of the fighting that was, at times, gruesome. Unlike the practice during World War II, the film was neither censored nor subject to any systematic scrutiny by the government. Thus, the public was shown scenes of battles in progress, the dead and wounded, and the coffins of the dead being unloaded. One of the more shocking photographs of the war occurred during the TET offensive. A Viet Cong terrorist was captured by South Vietnamese military officials and summarily executed in the streets of Saigon.
As the TET offensive continued into February, the anchorman for the CBS evening news, Walter Cronkite, traveled to Vietnam and filed several reports. Upon his return, Cronkite took an unprecedented step of presenting his "editorial opinion" at the end of the news broadcast on February 27th. "For it seems now more certain than ever," Cronkite said, "that the bloody experience of Vietnam is to end in a stalemate." After watching Cronkite's broadcast, LBJ was quoted as saying. "That's it. If I've lost Cronkite, I've lost middle America."


CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite
"the most trusted man in America,"
conducts an interview in Hue, February 1968.
U.S. Marine Corps photo
Boston Publishing Company, 1983
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The TET offensive remains a matter of controversy to this day. Militarily, the American forces repelled the attacks and retook the cities initially occupied by the North Vietnamese and Viet Cong. Critics argue that this was not emphasized in media reports so that TET was framed and interpreted as, at minimum, a "psychological defeat." Others assert that there was a disjuncture between the optimism of the administration's PR in late 1967 and the coordinated enemy attacks of January-February 1968.


Saigon Viet Cong dead after an attack
Perimeter of Tan Son Nhut Air Base
1 February 1968
Source Vietnam Center and Archive
Author Photo by: SP5 Edgar Price Pictorial
A.V. Plt. 69th Sig. Bn



U.S. Marines advance past an M48 Patton tank
The battle for Hue
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The ruins of Civilians homes in Cholon
heavily damaged Chinese section of Saigon
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


One thing is certain. TET had a substantial impact on American public opinion.
TET also had an impact within the Administration. In its wake, President Johnson refused the request for a substantial troop increase from General Westmoreland and initiated a reconsideration of his policy of escalation. Finally, TET took a personal and emotional toll on LBJ himself. In the face of a challenge for renomination by Senators Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota and Robert Kennedy of New York, LBJ addressed a national television audience on March 31. After discussing Vietnam, he announced that he would not seek nor would he accept the nomination for another term as president. Johnson was withdrawing from the race.


President Nguyen Van Thieu of South Vietnam
standing in front of world map
meeting with Lyndon B. Johnson in Hawaii
Date 19 July 1968
Source Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum
Author Yoichi R. Okamoto


Lyndon Johnson meets with Presidential candidate Richard Nixon
The White House, July 26, 1968.
Author: Yoichi Okamoto
Credit: Lyndon Baines Johnson Library
Source teachpol.tcnj.edu


Politically, the toll of Vietnam is also evident in path of public support for President Johnson from January 1965 through the end of December in 1968. The mounting casualties, along with domestic unrest, had a most corrosive impact on the president's support. In retirement, LBJ spoke of this. He referred to his Great Society program as a "beautiful woman" and noted that she was gradually replaced by the "bitch" that was the Vietnam War.
(All Text & Analysis, Copyright ©, August 2002, Dennis M. Simon)
By the beginning of 1968 the United States had been involved in military operations in Vietnam for over seven years and in major ground combat for two-and-a-half years. In-country U.S. military strength had risen to 485,000, and General William C. Westmoreland had been using his troops aggressively in all parts of South Vietnam to pursue the enemy’s main forces and to help shield the population from enemy attack.


Women and children in My Lai, Vietnam
shortly before US soldiers shot and killed them
Date 16 March 1968
Source "Report of the Department of Army review
The preliminary investigations into the My Lai incident
Volume III, Exhibits, Book 6 - Photographs, 14 March 1970"
From the Library of Congress, Military Legal Resources.
Author Ronald L. Haeberle
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The My Lai Massacre was the mass murder conducted by a unit of the U.S. Army on March 16, 1968 of 347 to 504 unarmed citizens in South Vietnam, all of whom were civilians and majority of whom were women, children, and elderly people.
Many of the victims were sexually abused, beaten, tortured, and some of the bodies were found mutilated. The massacre took place in the hamlets of Mỹ Lai and My Khe of Sơn Mỹ village during the Vietnam War. While 26 US soldiers were initially charged with criminal offenses for their actions at My Lai, only William Calley was convicted. He served only three years of an original life sentence, while on house arrest.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)


Unidentified Vietnamese man and child killed by US soldiers
16 March 1968
Source "Report of Army review into My Lai incident"
Book 6, 14 March 1970
Author Ronald L. Haeberle
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Unidentified bodies near burning house
My Lai, Vietnam. March 16, 1968
Author Ronald Haeberle
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Carter shot himself in the foot during the My Lai massacre
Date 16 March 1968
Source "Report of the Department of Army review"
The preliminary investigations into the My Lai incident.
From the Library of Congress, Military Legal Resources
Author Ronald L. Haeberle
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Burning a Vietnamese dwelling
Date 16 March 1968
Source "Report of Army review into My Lai incident"
Author Ronald L. Haeberle
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


U.S. and allied forces had conducted hundreds of operations both large and small, and some forty of that number had each achieved a verified body count of 500 or more enemy soldiers. According to MACV estimates, 81,000 Communist soldiers had been killed in 1967, giving substance to Westmoreland’s belief that the allies were slowing winning the war in Vietnam.
Influencing all parts of this struggle to hold the South was a new defense policy enunciated by Richard M. Nixon, who became President in January 1969. The Nixon Doctrine hearkened back to the precepts of the New Look, placing greater reliance on nuclear retaliation, encouraging allies to accept a larger share of their own defense burden, and barring the use of U.S. ground forces in limited wars in Asia, unless vital national interests were at stake. Under this policy, American ground forces in South Vietnam, once withdrawn, were unlikely to return. For President Thieu in Saigon, the future was inauspicious. For the time being, large numbers of American forces were still present to bolster his country’s war effort; what would happen when they departed, no one knew.
The U.S. troop withdrawals began in the summer of 1969, when two brigades of the 9th Infantry Division pulled out of III and IV Corps and a regiment of the 3d Marine Division departed from northern I Corps. These units were selected because they were considered first-rate and would consequently make the reduction in forces credible to all concerned—not just to the governments in Hanoi and Saigon but also to the American public. The 9th Division was chosen, according to General Abrams, because the war south of Saigon had been a South Vietnamese affair for years and was apparently going well. The marines would be leaving their area of operations to the best South Vietnamese division, the 1st Infantry Division, and to the remainder of their parent Marine unit, now reinforced along the demilitarized zone by the heavy brigade of the U.S. Army’s 5th Division.
The lifeline of the Communist war effort in South Vietnam, the Ho Chi Minh Trail grew from a network of footpaths in 1959 into an all-weather roadway by 1972. Beginning in southern North Vietnam, the trail wound through Laos and northern Cambodia, with spurs branching into each of almost two-dozen base areas along the border. During the war the United States bombed the trail in an unsuccessful attempt to stanch the flow of enemy troops and material.


Vietnamese and Laotian coolies took supplies
south on the Ho Chi Minh Trail (1959)
Source Stanley Karnow, Vietnam, A History
Author Unknown
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Jacob Van Staaveren: Interdiction in Southern Laos
Washington DC: Center of Air Force History, 1993
Source Originally from en.wikipedia
Author Original uploader RM Gillespie at en.wikipedia


According to Communist accounts, between 1959 and 1975, over 915,000 men and almost 1million tons of supplies arrived in South Vietnam via the Ho Chin Minh Trail. Keeping the trail open was one of the key elements of North Vietnamese victory.


MEKONG DELTA, Vietnam
A South Vietnamese Air Force UH-1 helicopter
Date 18 July 1970
Source af.mil
Author Department of Defense photo
by Sgt. Robert W. Ingianni
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


By November 1971, when the 101st Airborne Division withdrew from South Vietnam, North Vietnam was preparing for its 1972 spring offensive. With the South’s combat capacity diminished and nearly all U.S. combat troops gone, the North sensed an opportunity to demonstrate the failure of Vietnamization, hasten the South Vietnamese Army’s collapse, and revive the stalled peace talks. In its broad outlines and goals, the 1972 offensive resembled Tet 1968, except that the North Vietnamese Army, instead of the Viet Cong, bore the major burden of combat. The allies had plenty of warning of an impending attack. In December U.S. intelligence had started detecting enemy concentrations of armor and artillery farther south along the Ho Chi Minh Trail than ever before encountered, and analysts had also noted a dramatic increase in the number of North Vietnamese soldiers infiltrating into the South.
By mid-January 1972, it was predicted that a major conventional attack in which massed enemy formations and enemy armor and artillery operating in the open would play the decisive role. This gave confidence to those officials who believed in the efficacy of U.S. air power. In fact, as the winter wore on, air power advocates felt that a succession of “protective reaction” air strikes President Nixon had authorized in December had actually forestalled the expected offensive. While this point was controversial, all did agree that U.S. ground forces in Vietnam were no longer in a position to exercise influence over the battlefield. By March 1972 total military strength in the South had fallen to about 100,000, with one brigade, the 196th Light Infantry, at Da Nang, another, the 3d Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, at Bien Hoa. The task of countering any offensive on the ground would fall almost exclusively to the South Vietnamese.
In the aftermath the governments in Saigon and Hanoi both claimed victory, but the balance had not been significantly altered. On one side of the ledger were the declines in rural security wherever North Vietnamese divisions had forced their way into South Vietnam.
President Nixon’s resumption of the bombing of North Vietnam during the Easter offensive and, for the first time, his mining of North Vietnamese ports, gave confidence to the belief that the South Vietnamese could count on U.S. air support in the years ahead.
In early 1973 the United States, North and South Vietnam, and the Viet Cong signed an armistice that promised a cease-fire and national reconciliation. In fact, fighting continued; but MACV was dissolved, remaining U.S. forces withdrawn, and American military action in South Vietnam terminated. Perhaps most important of all, American advisers—still in many respects the backbone of the South Vietnamese Army’s command structure—were withdrawn.


Viet Cong soldiers and injured American POW
CPT David Earle Baker
Captured 27 June 72
Date 12 February 1973
Source High resolution download from defenseimagery.mi
Author SSGT Herman Kokojan
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Between 1973 and 1975, South Vietnam’s military security declined through a combination of old and new factors. Plagued by poor maintenance and shortages of spare parts, much of the advanced equipment provided South Vietnam’s forces under Vietnamization became inoperable. A rise in fuel prices stemming from a worldwide oil crisis further restricted the South Vietnamese military’s use of vehicles and aircraft. Government forces in many areas of the country were on the defensive, confined to protecting key towns and installations. Seeking to preserve its diminishing assets, the South Vietnamese Army became garrison bound and either reluctant or unable to react to a growing number of guerrilla attacks that eroded rural security. Congressionally mandated reductions in U.S. aid further reduced the delivery of spare parts, fuel, and ammunition. American military activities in Cambodia and Laos, which had continued after the cease-fire in South Vietnam went into effect, ended in 1973 when Congress cut off funds. Complaining of this austerity, President Thieu noted that he had to fight a “poor man’s war.” Vietnamization’s legacy was that South Vietnam had to do more with less.
(US Army Center of Military History)
South Vietnamese troops reported that 55 soldiers have been killed in two clashes with communist forces. Claiming that the war had "restarted," South Vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu asserted, "We cannot allow the communists a situation in which...they can launch harassing attacks against us," and ordered his forces to launch a counter-offensive to retake lost territory. The announcement essentially marked the end of attempts to adhere to the agreements of the Paris Peace Accords.
A cease-fire had been initiated in Vietnam on January 28, 1973, under the provisions of the Paris Peace Accords. These most recent battles were only the latest rounds in ongoing fighting that had followed the brief lull provided by the cease-fire. A large part of the problem was that the Peace Accords had left an estimated 200,000 North Vietnamese troops in South Vietnam. Renewed fighting broke out after the cease-fire as both sides jockeyed for control of territory in South Vietnam. Each side held that military operations were justified by the other side's violations of the cease-fire. What resulted was an almost endless chain of retaliations.
During the period between the initiation of the cease-fire and the end of 1973, there were an average of 2,980 combat incidents per month in South Vietnam. Most of these were generally low-intensity harassing attacks by the North Vietnamese designed to wear down the South Vietnamese forces, but the communists intensified their efforts in the Central Highlands in September when they attacked government positions with tanks west of Pleiku. As a result of these post-cease-fire actions, the South Vietnamese lost an estimated 25,473 soldiers in battle in 1973.
(© 1996-2008, A&E Television Networks at history.com)
In 1975 North Vietnam’s leaders began planning for a new offensive, still uncertain whether the United States would resume bombing or once again intervene in the South. When their forces overran Phuoc Long Province, north of Saigon, without any American military reaction, they decided to proceed with a major offensive in the Central Highlands. Neither President Nixon, weakened by the Watergate scandal and forced to resign, nor his successor, Gerald R. Ford, was prepared to challenge Congress by resuming U.S. military activity in Southeast Asia. The will of Congress seemed to reflect the mood of an American public weary of the long and inconclusive war.
What had started as a limited offensive in the highlands now became an all-out effort to conquer South Vietnam. Thieu, desiring to husband his military resources, decided to retreat rather than to reinforce the Central Highlands. The result was panic among his troops and a mass exodus toward the coast. As North Vietnamese forces spilled out of the Central Highlands, they cut off South Vietnamese defenders in the northern provinces from the rest of the country. Other North Vietnamese units now crossed the demilitarized zone, quickly overrunning Hue and Da Nang and signaling the collapse of South Vietnamese resistance in the north. Hurriedly established defense lines around Saigon held back the enemy offensive against the capital for a while, but not for long. As South Vietnamese leaders waited in vain for American assistance, Saigon fell to the Communists on April 30, 1975.
The time South Vietnamese forces bought near Saigon allowed the United States to complete a final evacuation from the capital. All day long on the twenty-ninth of April, Air Force and Marine Corps helicopters shuttled nearly 7,000 people, including the American ambassador, to U.S. Navy ships waiting off shore. Among the 5,600 non-American evacuees were South Vietnamese who were related to Americans or who faced a doubtful future because of the work they had done in Vietnam for U.S. agencies. Two U.S. marines were killed when North Vietnamese shells struck the compound of the former MACV headquarters that was serving as an evacuation site. Two pilots died when their helicopter went down at sea. These were the final U.S. casualties in Vietnam while the war still raged. When the last helicopter lifted off from the American embassy the next morning, taking with it a contingent of marine guards, the long American war for Vietnam came to a close.


South Vietnamese Refugees
Boarding Last Flight out of Nha Trang, March of 1975
Jean-Claude Francolon / Getty Images
©2009 About.com


Saigon’s fall was a bitter end to the long American effort to sustain South Vietnam. Ranging from advice and support to direct participation in combat and involving nearly 3 million U.S. servicemen, the effort failed to stop Communist leaders from reaching their goal of unifying a divided nation. South Vietnam’s military defeat tended to obscure the crucial inability of this massive military enterprise to compensate for South Vietnam’s political shortcomings. Over a span of two decades, a series of regimes had failed to mobilize fully and effectively their nation’s political, social, and economic resources to foster a popular base of support. North Vietnamese conventional units ended the war, but insurgency and disaffection among the people of the South made that outcome possible.
For the U.S. Army the scars of the war ran even deeper than the grim statistics showed. Given its long association with South Vietnam’s fortunes, the Army could not escape being tarnished by its ally’s fall. The loss compounded already unsettling questions about the Army’s role in Southeast Asia, about the soundness of its advice to the South Vietnamese, about its understanding of the nature of the war, about the appropriateness of its strategy and tactics, and about the adequacy of the counsel Army leaders provided to US decision makers. Marked by ambiguous military objectives and defensive strategy, sometimes ponderous tactics, and untidy command arrangements, the struggle in Vietnam seemed to violate most of the time-honored principles of war. Many officers sought to erase Vietnam from the Army’s corporate memory, feeling uncomfortable with failure or believing that the lessons and experience of the war were of little use to the post-Vietnam Army. Although a generation of officers, including many of the Army’s future leaders, cut their combat teeth in Vietnam, many regretted that the Army’s reputation, integrity, and professionalism had been tainted in the service of a flawed strategy and a dubious ally.
(US Army Center of Military History)


Vietnam War Memorial in Houston, Texas, United States
Source Own work
Author WhisperToMe
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Twenty years after the end of the Vietnam War, the government disclosed Monday April 3, 1995 that 1.1 million Communist fighters died and 600,000 were wounded in 21 years of conflict.
The casualties included Viet Cong guerrillas who operated in South Vietnam and professional North Vietnamese soldiers who aided them.
Previous estimates in the West said the Communist forces lost about 666,000. During the war, North Vietnam played down its losses to boost morale at home and discourage South Vietnam and the United States.
Nearly 58,200 U.S. soldiers were killed and 223,748 South Vietnamese died. More than 5,200 South Koreans, Australians, New Zealanders and Thai soldiers who fought on the southern side also were killed.
The figures, published by the official Vietnam News Agency, were the first Vietnam has made public.
Other figures showed nearly 2 million civilians were killed in the North and South and an equal number were injured. About 50,000 children were born deformed, allegedly because of the U.S. use of the chemical defoliant Agent Orange.
(The Virginian Pilot quoted THE LEDGER-STAR Copyright (c) 1995, Landmark Communications, Inc)

Pictures from The War remnants Museum:

Photo of Vietnamese school children
American weapons used during the Vietnam war
The American (Vietnam) War Remnants Museum
DownTheRoad.org


I WAS WRONG
I AM SORRY
highly decorated army sergeant returned his medals
told the Vietnamese people that he was wrong and sorry
The American (Vietnam) War Remnants Museum
DownTheRoad.org


Bicycle Iron Horses
The Ho Chi Minh Trail
The American (Vietnam) War Remnants Museum
DownTheRoad.org


American soldier with charred remains of a VC soldier
burned to death by a Napalm Bomb
The American (Vietnam) War Remnants Museum
DownTheRoad.org


American helicopter with rocket launcher
The American (Vietnam) War Remnants Museum
DownTheRoad.org


American tank on display
The American (Vietnam) War Remnants Museum
DownTheRoad.org


Pic of American M16 rifle
held against a civilian woman's head
DownTheRoad.org


About the Vietnam War (1960-1975):
A Vietnam War Timeline The Causes of the Vietnam War Maps of Vietnam The Military and Diplomatic Course of the War A Vietnam Photo Essay African Americans in the Vietnam War The Domestic Course of the War The Anti-War Movement in the U.S. The Postwar Impact of Vietnam Changing Interpretations of the War Poetry and Vietnam
Prepared and Compiled by Cary Nelson
Modern American Poetry Home


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

MASTER OF THE ART OF PREMIER COUP (DIRECT STROKE) OIL TECHNIQUE



Anders Leonhard Zorn
1886 photo
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Anders Leonhard Zorn's early and phenomenal popularity was sustained throughout his career as a portrait painter of eminent persons in all fields. He was admired for the charm and freshness of his work, which also included genre and landscape subjects. He traveled throughout Europe and visited the United States but he always returned to his native Mora, Sweden. Zorn's works are in many European and American collections; his Mora (Worcester, Mass., Art Mus.) is a fine example. Since his death, his virtuoso etching style has been esteemed more than his work in oils.
(The Columbia Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition 2008 at Encyclopedia.com home page)


[Anders Zorn], ca. 1905
Davis & Sanford (Firm: New York, N.Y.)
Photographic print b&w ; 27 x 21 cm
Charles Scribner's Sons Art Reference Dept. records
1839-1962
Archives of American Art


Carnegie Institute Jury, 1911
unidentified photographer
Photographic print b&w ; 15 x 18 cm
Cecilia Beaux papers, 1863-1968
Archives of American Art

Individuals identified as: (top row, L to R) Walter Elmer Schofield, Anders Zorn, and Frank Duveneck, (front row L to R) John Wesley Beatty, William Merritt Chase, Cecilia Beaux, Edmund Tarbell, Julian Alden Weir, unidentified English judge, and possibly Charles Harold Davis.


Anders Zorn's studio
Anders Zorns Atelier in Mora
Author Holger.Ellgaard
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


He is famous for his paintings of the people of Dalarna, the part of Sweden where he was born, and his nudes in the open space. He earned a world-wide reputation as a portraitist. He made seven journeys to the USA.
(MIKAEL GUSTAFSSON at anderszorn.info)
He studied at Royal Swedish Academy of Arts in Stockholm, Sweden from 1875-1880. He traveled extensively to London, Paris, the Balkans, Spain, Italy and the United States, becoming an international success as one of the most acclaimed painters of his era. While his early works were often brilliant, luminous watercolors, by 1887 he had switched firmly to oils. Zorn painted portraits, scenes depicting rustic life and customs. Zorn is also famous for his realistic depictions of water.


Vågskvalp [Lappings of the waves]
Watercolor on paper, 1887
100 x 66 inches (254.00 x 167.64 cm)
Private collection
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center


Kaikroddare
Watercolor on paper, 1886
51 x 79 inches (129.54 x 200.66 cm)
Private collection
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center


Sommarnoje
Watercolor on paper, 1886
76 x 56 inches (193.04 x 142.24 cm)
Private collection
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center


Hamburgs Hamn
1891
Watercolor on paper
46" x 67"
Private collection
© 1999-2007 PK Hobbs, E-vint.com


Zorn lived in London between 1882 and 1885 and in Paris from 1888 to 1896. Already in 1882 one of his watercolours was exhibited in the Paris Salon and in 1884 he was given a place of honour at the spring exhibition of the Royal Institute of Watercolours in London, exhibiting, among other things, his famous portrait "Grandmother". From 1887 on Zorn was chiefly occupied with oilpainting and etching. In Paris he belonged to the leading art circles and in the spring of 1888 the
French State bought his first big oil work "A fisherman" painted in S t Ives, Cornwall.


A Fisherman
Copyright © 2009 Elton Smith at ongsofpraise.org


"Margit" and "Midnight" were painted in Mora in the summer of 1981 and both were sold in Paris the year after.


Margit
Oil on canvas, 1891
30 5/8 x 25 inches (78 x 63.7 cm)
Private collection
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center


Midnight
From Steve Art Gallery.se


That winter he also painted the little study of a sitting model and the portrait of his wife "Emma Zorn in the Studio" which was exhibited at the Salon of Societé Nationale de Beaux Arts.


Porträtt av Emma Zorn i Parisateljén
(Portrait of Emma Zorn in the Paris studio)
Oil on canvas, 1894
50 1/2 x 34 3/8 inches (128.5 x 87.5 cm)
Private collection
From Steve Art Gallery.se


Zorn spent 1893 in the United States where he was commissioner of the Swedish Art Department of the Chicago World Fair. He returned to the United States six times and left an important part of his work there, having painted and etched portraits of many prominent Americans including President Grover Cleveland and President William Taft (The White House, Washington D.C.). Zorn also painted numerous portraits in France, England, Germany and other countries and his work in this genre is generally admired for its taut composition and fine psychological description.
(Swedish Press February 1990 at nordicway.com)


President Grover Cleveland
From allpaintings.org


President William Taft
From Steve Art Gallery.se


President William Taft
From Steve Art Gallery.se


It was primarily his skill as a portrait painter that gained Zorn international acclaim based principally upon his incisive ability to depict the individual character of his model.
At 29, he was made Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur at the Exposition Universelle 1889 Paris World Fair.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Some of his most important works can be seen at National Museum (National Museum of Fine Arts) in Stockholm. Among them is Midsummer Dance (1897), a depiction of dancers in the evening light of a rural Midsummer Eve celebration. Other museums holding works by Zorn include the Musée d'Orsay in Paris and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
The Zorn Collections in Mora (Dalarna County, Sweden) is a museum dedicated to the works of Anders Zorn. It was designed by Ragnar Östberg and opened in 1939.
(Copyright © 2002-2009 www.anderszorn.org)


Zornmuseet, Zornsamlingarna i Mora
Author Holger.Ellgaard
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Midsommardans / Midsummer dance
Oil on canvas, 1903
Dimensions 117.5 × 90 cm (46.25 × 35.43 in)
Current location National museum Stockholm
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


In 1893, on his first trip to America, Zorn visited New York City en route to the Columbian World Exhibition in Chicago (also known as Chicago’s World Fair).
The self-made artist subscribed to American values and immediately felt welcome in America. Zorn wrote about America in his memoirs:
“I get on well in America and with Americans. Their frank, straightforward manner suits my nature. I’ve never really been able to stand our urban Europeans’ ceremonious style and artificial customs. When I first came out of Dalarna, I quickly learned that everything I knew and valued was considered nothing, and that one should never tell the truth about things in polite society. . . . But the only rules of conduct that were so severely impressed on me by my grandfather from my earliest childhood were not so tricky; faithfulness, being true to one’s word, honesty, and punctuality, virtues I discovered were unnecessary in the cities of Europe. . . . Why was I more than other foreigners during [my first visit to America] closest to the elite of America and introduced in all the clubs? Everywhere I go, I ascribe this to my grandfather, the splendid old Mora peasant who raised me until I was twelve. . . . Over there [in America], when they say "He’s all-right," all doors open to the foreigner, which Europeans cannot understand. Openness, honesty, straightforwardness, punctuality, these things are included in the testimonial ‘He’s all-right.’”
Not only did Zorn love America, but also America loved him, and continues to do so. The artist was one of the most actively collected printmakers of the early 20th Century, fetching extremely high prices at auction and was often ranked among the world’s most highly-esteemed printmakers.
(Childs Gallery)


"Zorn in America"
A Swedish Impressionist of the Gilded Age
By William and Willow Hagans
The book is Illustrated with over 130 paintings
etchings, drawings, and photos
Copyright 2009 The American Swedish Institute


The time Anders Zorn’s spent in America between 1893 and 1911, painting and etching over 100 prominent Americans, is the focus of this book and accompanying lecture presented by Willow Hagans at the American Swedish Historical Museum in South Philadelphia on Saturday, May 16, 2009. The book Zorn in America is the culmination of twenty years of research by Willow and William Hagans. The book and talk illuminate details and stories that surround the paintings and etchings Zorn completed during his lengthy sojourns in the United States. The Hagans reveal how Zorn’s trips solidified his standing at the time as one of the era’s greatest and most in-demand artists.
(From americanswedish.org)
In Zorn you can see lush stroking and a brilliant understanding of warm and cool light, colour-loaded shade areas, sophisticated grays and reflected light. He built simple, bold, often monochromatic or analogous colour schemes in casual compositions. Like Sargent, he had an uncanny way of rendering what was before him, making it look hasty and flawless at the same time. Some of his decentralized and happenstance views have a decided "off-screen" look.
(Copyright 2005 Robert Genn at painterskeys.com)
His name is invariably included in an illustrious quartet of late nineteenth-century/early twentieth century masters of the art of premier coup (direct stroke) oil technique. The four names which are customarily linked are: John Singer Sargent (American), Joaquin Sorolla (Spanish), Giovanni Boldini (Italian) and Zorn (Scandinavian). Legion were (and are) the painters who have attempted this very difficult and demanding technique, but these four, working contemporaneously, were the standard-bearers of the discipline in their era.
Zorn's work is always exciting. His draftsmanship is superb. His brushwork is fresh, direct and animated. His compositions are frequently unconventional. For the working artist who needs inspiration to free his hand from hesitation and restraint, Zorn is the perfect artist to study. Here are four examples of his brilliant work, all self-portraits:


Självporträtt med modell
Selfportrait with model, 1896
117 × 94 cm (46.06 × 37.00 in)
Huidige verblijfplaats Nationalmuseum Stockholm
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Zorn's best-known self-portrait depicts the artist revealed by a very strong side light which divides the face into light and dark. The artist wears a light gray smock, high white collar, and full artist's cravat. The palette shows the three pigments which form the basis of his flesh tones: white, yellow ochre and cadmium red light (or vermilion).
In a highly unconventional arrangement, a large dark void occupies the center of the composition, with the resting model (who covers herself with a dark wrap) in the upper right corner. Note the refection of the model's feet in the polished floor.
(John Howard Sanden at worldofportraitpainting.com site created by A Stroke of Genius, Inc)
Even though Zorn himself showed four colors in his self-portrait, he probably used more when the occasion demanded. A person associated with a Swedish museum devoted to Zorn asserted that Zorn also used cobalt blue because more than 30 tubes of it were found among his possessions after he died. The source further stated that Zorn often painted water, which is difficult to do without blue -- one of the three primary pigment colors along with red and yellow. (Green, normally a mixture of yellow and blue could be obtained from the Zorn Palette by mixing yellow with black. A blue could be obtained by mixing black with white, though some blacks are probably more suitable for this than others.)
There is no consensus in how-to books for painting regarding palettes. At least one favors having black, white and a warm and cool version of each of the three primaries. Other books acknowledge that, in theory, all colors can be mixed from the primaries (plus white and black to lighten or darken) -- but the chemistry of paint ingredients makes this impossible in practice. Therefore, one should use a variety of colors because this can get you closer to the colors you want without mixing too many initial colors -- a practice that runs the risk of yielding "muddy" results.
(Donald Pittenger at 2blowhards.com)


Self-Portrait With Sculpture


Painted at 29, this portrait vividly exhibits the Zorn trademark of extraordinarily free brushwork, with a decided rhythm of strokes blending from one form into another, across the edges or contours. The light here is falling from a high source (possible a skylight). This painting, like many Zorn works, includes a strong story-telling aspect — the young artist is shown in his studio surrounded by elements of his art: the back of a large stretched canvas and a sculpture work-in-progress.
The working artist will note that the very evident brushstrokes all move in the direction of the form (i.e., down the lapels and the front of the coat, across the forehead and cheekbones.
(John Howard Sanden at worldofportraitpainting.com site created by A Stroke of Genius, Inc)


Självporträtt i vargskinnspäls
[Self-portrait in a wolfskin]
Oil on canvas, 1915
35 3/8 x 23 inches (90 x 58.5 cm)
Private collection
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center

Everything in a Zorn painting is achieved through a kind of brushwork/shorthand. The soft texture of the fur coat is deftly achieved by thin applications of very fluid paint. The head, (or rather, the light on the head) is rendered with broad, simple strokes. The black hat is almost an abstract shape. Note the very dark cast shadows over the eyes, and the exceptional darkness of the shadow cast by the head onto the lapel of the coat.
(John Howard Sanden at worldofportraitpainting.com site created by A Stroke of Genius, Inc)


Självporträtt i rött [Self-portrait in red]
Oil on canvas, 1915
47 1/8 x 35 3/8 inches (120 x 90 cm)
Private collection
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center


Zorn's international reputation rests on the strong realism of his work, achieved by a vigorous bold simplicity. (Note the window, achieved with a very few direct, slashing brushstrokes.) The unusual red suit is rendered with extraordinary simplicity, but with utterly convincing realism.
(John Howard Sanden at worldofportraitpainting.com site created by A Stroke of Genius, Inc)
The pursuit of light was the guiding principle of the art of Anders Zorn. With oil-paint, with water-colours, with etching needle, untiringly he pursued light in its frank or subtle manifestations of life and characteristic beauty of expression in the human figure and the countenances of men and women, and it was these that led his art to its brilliant triumphs. Although he would bring to the copper a painter's vision, he developed with his etching-needle an expressive linear manner in which light would be suggestively vibrant, and so entirely was this his own, and with such true etcher's authority did he use it, that he won a distinguished and indisputable place in the front rank of the master-etchers. Indeed it was this individuality of conception in line that gave to the subjects of some of Zorn's finest etchings an intrinsically fresh pictorial vitality, even though as a painter he had already solved their problems of light and its effects. Thus we find acclaimed pictures repeated in etchings, which, quite independently asserting their spontaneity of impression, have proved important factors in establishing the fame of the Swedish master.
Zorn's individuality of expression with the etching-needle, however, took some seven years to evolve. In Stockholm and in Spain he had already practised drawing in water-colours with a certain fluency of accomplishment before he came to London in 1882, and here it was with portraits and other essays in water-colours that he set about earning a livelihood. Art was necessary to the expression of the young man's temperamental joy in life, but he knew he had not yet found his happiest medium. Oil-painting and etching, the two mediums through which he was to become famous, were still for him in the future. Original etching was yet far from being popular, although in London Whistler, Haden and Legros, all active on the copper, were awakening interest in the art. Legros was teaching at the Slade School, Haden, with his masterpieces behind him, had recently founded the society of Painter-Etchers, while Whistler's first "Venice Set" had been two years on the market, yet was selling but slowly.
1889, when he had etched some thirty plates in all, that Zorn began to be really interesting in line. In a portrait of himself at work on his plate he seems to have found himself as an etcher, and then to have successfully tested his discovery with a characteristic presentment of Antonim Proust, Minister of Fine Arts, enjoying a moment of keen interest.


Zorn and his Wife
Etching, 12.37 x 8.25 inches
From a proof in the possession
of Mrs. Anders Zorn
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center


In the delightful Zorn and his Wife that he marked the year 1890 with a really important advance in his art as etcher, and here his own linear technique seems to be definitely established with its independence of outline. It is a charmingly homely scene: the happy young artist at work, his eyes intent on the mirror in front of him to catch the reflection of himself, with his wife standing companionably at his elbow, her eyes focused where his are, his needle in his hand poised for immediate response to the right moment of visual conception. The light and shade are distributed with happy pictorial balance, and the effect of spontaneity is not in any way overruled by the firmness of the design.
(Art Renewal Center)


The waltz
From allpaintings.org


The Waltz
Etching, 13.12 x 8.87
From a proof in the possession
of Mrs. Anders Zorn
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center


The year 1891 saw Zorn very busy with his etching, and, besides the Fauré, he wrought three or four plates which claim important rank in his œuvre. Of these the first was The Waltz, and it is a remarkable achievement in the suggestion, by the rhythmical arrangement of the lights and darks, of the swirling movement of the dancing figures. He had already explored this problem with tones when painting the picture in oils, but here on the copper it was as a master of contrasting directions of lines in masses that he tackled it afresh and succeeded.
(Art Renewal Center)


Madonna
From Steve Art Gallery.se


Madonna
Etching, 9.75 x 7.75 inches
From a proof in the possession
of Mrs. Anders Zorn
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center


Feminine beauty was always an inspiration for Zorn, and between two visits to America in the years 1899 and 1900 he reveled on his copper-plates in the presentation of two types of Swedish beauty, the patrician and the peasant. In Maja we have the charming woman who is conscious that her beauty is as little questioned as her social position; while in Madonna we have a beautiful peasant woman who has no thought of how she may appear to anybody else, for the baby in her arms supplies the whole meaning and motive of her present existence. In this beautiful etching Zorn has achieved a masterpiece of tenderly human expression.
(Art Renewal Center)


Mona or Mother
Grudd Anna Andersdotter
Oil on canvas, 1898
108 x 82 inches (274.32 x 208.28 cm)
Private collection
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center


Mona
Etching, 9.75 x 6.87 inches
From a proof in the possession
of Campbell Dodgson, Esq., C.B.E.
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center


With his portraiture: there are portraits of wealthy and important persons he etched, and etched with masterly accomplishment, which leave one cold, whereas there are others, like those of Auguste Rodin, Anatole France, Marcelin Barthelot, the great chemist and Renan's intimate friend, Prince Paul Troubetskoy, August Strindberg, which hold one because the artist's personality has responded expressively to the personality of his subject. Distinguished portraits all these, are fine etchings, but the Mona is far more. It is a noble and beautiful presentment of the artist's mother, and as we look at this monumental etching, in which every line tells expressively, we realise a splendid type of peasant woman, who has met all of life's experience with simple dignity and beauty of character. To compare this portrait of the mother he loved and honoured wit the etcher's last portrait of him-self in a fur-coat offers interesting material for psychological study.
(Art Renewal Center)


A Toast in the Idun
Society, 1892
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


The Toast
Transmuting the pictorial vitality of a subject
from oil-paint to the printed etching
From a proof in the possession
of Mrs. Anders Zorn, 12.5 x 10.37 inches
This image is courtesy of the Art Renewal Center


The Toast is another of Zorn's monumental achievements in transmuting the pictorial vitality of a subject from oil-paint to the printed etching. This is a live and original composition, and it pictures the convivial function in its quiddity. Here is a gathering of the leading writers, artists and scientists of Stockholm to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Idun Society, and the man who founded it, Dr. Wieselgren, Chief of the National Library, and the very personification of geniality, is proposing the toast of the evening. With his glass in one hand, and a good cigar in the other, he is thoroughly enjoying himself, for he is saying things that please him to say and others to hear, if we may judge by the laughing expression of his own eyes and those of the group of convivial scientists behind him, among them Baron Nordenskjöld, the famous explorer. Thirty year of social reminiscence must have evoked many personal allusions that have "set the table on a roar"; he has deliberately turned the laugh against himself, we may be sure; he feels as expansive as he looks; his wit has just got a point home -and the artist, with his genius for the spontaneous impression, has caught the moment alive, and his etching speaks.
(Art Renewal Center)