Emma Lamm (1860–1942)
Emma Lamm, (1860–1942), who Zorn had met while painting a portrait of her nephew in 1881, belonged to an upper-middle-class Jewish family from Stockholm. The couple became secretly engaged, however, a wedding would depend on whether Zorn could make a success of himself in the world. In 1885 her family now considered his financial situation to be stable enough. Zorn returned home from London and the couple was married at a civil ceremony in Stockholm City Hall in 1885.
Emma made it clear from the start that she was entering the marriage as her husband’s intellectual equal. She was educated and intelligent, interested in culture, and outgoing. Her wish was to help her husband’s progress, not just keep house. Through the years, she lived up to her self-imposed active role as an artist’s wife. She was his critic and his administrator, organizing shipments and insurance in conjunction with exhibitions, managing contacts with other artists, and playing the model in various guises. After the wedding, Zorn’s art became their common concern.
In spite of all the differences, Emma became very fond of Zorn’s family. This positive meeting proved to have great significance for her. She was always to have very good relations with her in-laws and the people of Mora. After the couple’s moving to Mora in 1896, and encouraged by her husband, Emma became involved in a series of different local activities such as the public library and the handicraft association. The Zorn Children’s Home was indebted to her for its existence and likewise also a public school for adults (f|olkhögskola) in Mora which came into being as a result of the active participation and financial support from her and her husband.
For Zorn, joining the Lamm family meant access to a large and significant network of contacts. Indeed, he had already made social connections as a friend of Emma’s family prior to the marriage, receiving a number of commissions from her relatives, but now doors opened to contacts beyond Sweden and on the international market.
Emma Zorn survived her husband for more than two decades. She remained in their home in Mora and maintained his legacy until her death in 1942. It was her initiative that led to the establishment of the Zorn Museum, opened three years earlier.