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Joaquin Sorolla: through the light

The Bancaja Foundation presents in Valencia until February 18 the exhibition "Sorolla: through light" with a selection of original works by Joaquin Bastida Sorolla which brings together 45 canvases that the artist painted between 1890 and 1920.


Joaquin Sorolla. Enfants à la plage.1908. New-York The Hispanic Society
Joaquin Sorolla. Enfants à la plage.1908. New-York The Hispanic Society

Joaquin Bastida Sorolla was born in Valencia in February 1863. Orphaned at the age of two, he was taken in by his uncles. Very gifted at drawing, he entered the school of fine arts. During a visit to the Prado Museum in 1881, he was deeply impressed by Velasquez's painting. In 1884, his painting “Le cri du Palletier” was rewarded by the deputation of Valencia with a pension which allowed Sorolla to study in Rome. Then invited to Paris by his friend Moreno de Mora, he spent six months there, working intensely and visiting museums and exhibitions. He was particularly attracted to realist painters like Adolf von Menzel and Jules Bastien-Lepage.


Joaquin Sorolla. La vuelta de la pesca. 1904. Collection particulière
Joaquin Sorolla. La vuelta de la pesca. 1904. Collection particulière

Returning to Valencia, Sorolla settled with his wife Clotilde. They traveled to Italy and even lived in Asia for a while. In 1889, the couple went to Paris for the 1889 Universal Exhibition where Sorolla particularly appreciated the works of Peder Severin Krøyer. On his return, Sorolla settled permanently in Madrid, where his first daughter Maria was born.


Joaquin Sorolla. Rompeolas. San Sebastian. 1917. Museo Sorolla. Madrid.
Joaquin Sorolla. Rompeolas. San Sebastian. 1917. Museo Sorolla. Madrid.

Two other children followed in 1892 and 1895. Sorolla participated in numerous exhibitions in Spain and abroad where he won numerous prizes and rewards. Confident in his style, he painted works tinged with social realism which received an excellent reception.


Joaquin Sorolla. Une pécheuse à Valence. 1916. Collection particulière.
Joaquin Sorolla. Une pécheuse à Valence. 1916. Collection particulière.

In 1900, Sorolla received the grand prize at the Paris Universal Exhibition for all of his work. A year later, he was awarded the Medal of Honor at the National Exhibition of Fine Arts in Madrid. His wife Clotilde accompanies him at all stages of his career. Sorolla regularly paints on the beach of Valencia, won over by the brightness of the place and the beauty of the sea. The scenes represent fishermen or children playing, created with great artistic maturity.


Joaquin Sorolla. Instantané à Biarritz. 1906. Museo Sorolla. Madrid
Joaquin Sorolla. Instantané à Biarritz. 1906. Museo Sorolla. Madrid

In 1905, Sorolla painted nearly 250 paintings and his work focused on the study of light and color. He likes to capture the reflections of the sun on the crystal clear waters of the beaches of Valencia.


Joaquin Sorolla. Clotilde au ruisseau San Vincente. 1919. Museo Sorolla Madrid.
Joaquin Sorolla. Clotilde au ruisseau San Vincente. 1919. Museo Sorolla Madrid.

The first exhibition entirely devoted to his works took place in Paris in 1906, followed by others in Berlin, Düsseldorf and Cologne. In 1908, he exhibited in London. Invited to New York in 1909, he received a delirious welcome. More than 160,000 visitors flock to discover and buy his paintings.

Joaquin Sorolla. Fontaine et roseraie à la maison Sorolla. 1919. Museo Sorolla. Madrid.
Joaquin Sorolla. Fontaine et roseraie à la maison Sorolla. 1919. Museo Sorolla. Madrid.

Gardens and flowers take an important place in his painting, alongside the beaches of Valencia which he always loves.

Covered with honors, Sorolla died in Valencia in 1923, at the zenith of his popularity.


Joqauin Sorolla. Autoportrait. 1908.Collection particulière
Joqauin Sorolla. Autoportrait. 1908.Collection particulière

Fundacion Bancaja

Plaza de Tetuán, 23

46003 Valencia (Valencia)



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