Joaquin Sorolla – Painter

Joaquin Sorolla (València, 1863 – Cercedilla, 1923)

He was born on 27 February 1863 in Valencia, Spain. Sorolla was the eldest child born to a tradesman, also named Joaquin Sorolla, and his wife, Concepción Bastida. His sister, Concha, was born a year later. In August 1865, both children were orphaned when their parents died, possibly from cholera. They were thereafter cared for by their maternal aunt and uncle.

Finally he joined the School of Fine Arts (1878-1881) where he received an academic education. To start painting outdoors he was encouraged by one of his teachers, Gonzalo Salva, and then the painter Ignacio Pinney Camarlench. In 1884 he obtained a second medal at the National Exhibition of Fine Arts and obtained a pension in Italy of the Provincial Council of Valencia. n 1885 he went to Rome and from there to Paris, where he provided his first exposure to modern painting. In 1888 he married Clotilde García del Castillo.

In 1889 he returned to Paris to see the Exposition Universal: there he discovers Nordic painters and its unique procession of light, which he based on his own version of Luminism: opens his consolidation phase. His palette is gaining new shades in his efforts to capture the light.. In 1890 born their first child Maria Clotilde; in 1892, his only son, Joaquin; and in 1895, Elena, her third daughter.

The painting earned Sorolla his greatest official recognition, the Grand Prix and a medal of honor at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1900, and the medal of honor at the National Exhibition in Madrid in 1901. With this painting Sorolla ceased his career as a salon artist, and never returned to a theme of such overt social consciousness. At the same time, a series of preparatory oil sketches for Sad Inheritance were painted with the greatest luminosity and bravura, and foretold an increasing interest in shimmering light and of a medium deftly handled. A special exhibition of his works—figure subjects, landscapes and portraits—at the Galeries Georges Petit in Paris in 1906 eclipsed all his earlier successes and led to his appointment as Officer of the Legion of Honour. The show included nearly 500 works, early paintings as well as recent sun-drenched beach scenes, landscapes, and portraits, a productivity which amazed critics and was a financial triumph

In this period exposed individually in several cities in Europe and the United States: in 1906 in Paris the following year in Berlin, Dusseldorf and Cologne in 1908 in London and a year later in New York, Buffalo and Boston. Conclude these exhibitions in Chicago and St. Louis in 1911, with great success in Paris and New York.

Early in 1911, Sorolla visited the United States for a second time, and exhibited 152 new paintings at the Saint Louis Art Museum and 161 at the Art Institute of Chicago a few weeks later. Later that year Sorolla met Archie Huntington in Paris and signed a contract to paint a series of oils on life in Spain. These 14 magnificent murals, installed to this day in the Hispanic Society of America building in Manhattan, range from 12 to 14 feet in height, and total 227 feet in length. The major commission of his career, it would dominate the later years of Sorolla’s life.

 Joaquin Sorolla

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