Joaquín Sorolla – Spanish 1863–1923

 Joaquín SorollaJoaquín Sorolla was the eldest child born to a tradesman, also named Joaquín, 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.

He received his initial art education, at the age of fourteen, in his native town, and then under a succession of teachers including Cayetano Capuz, Salustiano Asenjo. At the age of eighteen he traveled to Madrid, vigorously studying master paintings in the Museo del Prado. After completing his military service, at twenty-two Sorolla obtained a grant which enabled a four-year term to study painting in Rome, Italy, where he was welcomed by and found stability in the example of F. Pradilla, the director of the Spanish Academy in Rome. A long sojourn to Paris in 1885 provided his first exposure to modern painting; of special influence were exhibitions of Jules Bastien-Lepage and Adolf von Menzel. Back in Rome he studied with José Benlliure, Emilio Sala, and José Villegas.

Although formal portraiture was not Sorolla's genre of preference, because it tended to restrict his creative appetites and could reflect his lack of interest in his subjects, the acceptance of portrait commissions proved profitable, and the portrayal of his family was irresistible. Sometimes the influence of Velázquez was uppermost, as in My Family (1901), a reference to Las Meninas which grouped his wife and children in the foreground, the painter reflected, at work, in a distant mirror.  Joaquín Sorolla At other times the desire to compete with his friend John Singer Sargent was evident, as in Portrait of Mrs. Ira Nelson Morris and her children, (1911). A series of portraits produced in the United States in 1909, commissioned through the Hispanic Society of America, was capped by the portrait of Mr.Taft, President of the United States, painted at the White House, and suggestive of convivial sessions between painter and president.

The appearance of sunlight could be counted on to rouse his interest, and it was outdoors where he found his ideal portrait settings. Thus, not only did his daughter pose standing in a sun-dappled landscape for María at La Granja (1907), but so did Spanish royalty, for the Portrait of King Alfonso XIII in a Hussar's Uniform (1907). For Portrait of Mr. Louis Comfort Tiffany (1911), the American artist posed seated at his easel in his Long Island garden, surrounded by extravagant flowers. The conceit reaches its high point in My Wife and Daughters in the Garden (1910), in which the idea of traditional portraiture gives way to the sheer fluid delight of a painting constructed with thick passages of color, Sorolla's love of family and sunlight merged.

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Sorolla: The Masterworks by Blanca Pons-Sorolla – Hardcover: 224 pages Publisher: Skira Rizzoli (October 2, 2012)

A new survey of the best works by the elusive and spectacular Spanish Impressionist Joaquín Sorolla. Often compared to his contemporary, the American artist John Singer Sargent, Joaquín Sorolla (1863–1923) was a master draftsman and painter of landscapes, formal portraits, and monumental, historically themed canvases. Highly influenced by French Impressionism, the Valencian artist was a master plein-air painter known for his luminous seaside scenes of frolicking youths and for vivid depictions of Spanish rural life and its pleasures and customs. This beautifully designed and produced volume brings together one hundred of Sorolla’s major paintings, selected by his great-granddaughter Blanca Pons-Sorolla, the foremost authority on the artist. Benefiting from close proximity to the artist and his personal archives, she presents an in-depth essay that explores Sorolla’s life, work, and remarkable international legacy. With virtually all of the artist’s previous publications now out of print, this much-anticipated volume is an important addition to the literature on this great Spanish master.

Joaquin Sorolla ~ Jose Luis Diez, Javier Baron Thaidigsmann – Hardcover: 256 pages Publisher: Thames & Hudson (August 1, 2009)

A comprehensive look at the masterworks of this influential modern Spanish painter, published in association with the Museo Nacional del Prado. Joaquin Sorolla (1863–1923) is a master of Spanish modern painting and an influential figure in the history of art. To celebrate his accomplishments, the Museo Nacional del Prado has organized an ambitious exhibition and catalogue that place Sorolla among the pantheon of great Spanish painters: El Greco, Velázquez, and Goya.

The 138 works featured make up the most far-reaching exhibition devoted to a nineteenth-century painter in the Prado’s history. Gathered here are paintings from collections and major museums in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, London, Venice, Paris, New York, Boston, Dallas, and St. Louis, including most notably Sorolla’s exceptional set of panels entitled La Vision de España.

The book features detailed and up-to-date information on all the works, along with texts that explore and analyze Sorolla’s paintings and his position both in Spanish art history and on the international scene. 300 color illustrations.

Sorolla: A Selection from His Paintings in the Hispanic Society of America Hispanic Society Of America (Editor) by Anglars Shamish (Editor) - Paperback; Publisher: Hispanic Society of Amer; Book&Slide edition (June 1989)

This small book is very unique, containing a selection of 35mm slides of Sorolla's work.

Joaquin Sorolla by Jose Maria Faema – Hardcover: 64 pages Publisher: Ediciones Poligrafa (January 1, 2002)


Joaquin Sorolla By Blanca Pons-Sorolla – Paperback: 342 pages Publisher: San Diego Museum of Art, (January 1, 2005)


Sorolla: The Hispanic Society by Priscilla E. Muller, Marcus B.Burke - Hardcover: 240 pages; Publisher: Ediciones El Viso; Bilingual edition (August 31, 2015)

Since the Foundation of The Hispanic Society of America in 1904 by Archer M. Huntington (1870-1955), there has never been an artist so closely related to his famous art collection as Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1863-1923). The doors of the Hispanic society had only been open for only a few months when Huntington discovered the work of Sorolla, who at the time was exhibiting at Grafton Galleries. Huntington had found in Sorolla an artist that shared the same love for Spain, its villages and habits; that is why he began organizing the exhibition that would take place a year later.

Sorolla: Gardens of Light Blanca Pons Sorolla (Author) – Hardcover: 256 pages Publisher: Ediciones El Viso (October 16, 2012)

Features the full collection of paintings of gardens by Sorolla in his lifetime. Text is written by Sorolla's great-grandaughter, Blanca Pons Sorolla, who is in charge of the collection. Includes an extended chronology.

This catalogue covers the exhibition that was staged at the Galleries of Modern and Contemporary Art in Ferrera (Italy) and is due to take place this summer at the Fine Arts Museum in the Palace of Charles V in Granada and the Sorolla Museum in Madrid.

Sorolla painted directly in the open air at La Granja, the Alcázar in Seville, the Alhambra and Generalife in Granada and at his house in Madrid. These are paintings in which we can observe the artists' interest in portraying the qualities of light and shade and different watery reflections by means of a sketch-like technique based on the use of very loose brushstrokes and striking colors.

Joaquin Sorolla by Blanca Pons-Sorolla – Hardcover, 352 pages, Philip Wilson Publishers (January 19, 2006)

Reader review: This large Sorolla book contains reasonably high quality images of most of the artist's important works. The text is story-style and often moving (especially the description of his stroke while painting a portrait), which is not surprising as Sorolla's great granddaughter wrote it. What artists will miss is the nearly complete exclusion of Sorolla's terrific miniature ("apuntes") oil sketches (except for some tiny color reproductions in the Chronology section of the book) and virtually any technical information about the artist's methods (If these are of interest to you, I would suggest Edmund Peel's book "The Painter Joaquin Sorolla", now out of print and usually pretty expensive). It seems that the book is geared more towards the casual Sorolla enthusiast than those who are already familiar with, and passionate about, his work. Nevertheless, it is a very good Sorolla monograph and given its size, availability, generous number of reproductions and reasonable price (this is a large hardcover), I would not hesitate to recommend it.

The Painter: Joaquin Sorolla Y Bastida by Edmund Peel - Hardcover: 288 pages; Publisher: Sotheby Parke Bernet Pubns; First Edition edition (April 1989)

This Spanish painter specialized in landscapes and garden studies, and was especially skilled at capturing light. This book contains commentary and notes to accompany Soralla's works.

The Painter: Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida by Edmund Peel (Author), Francisco Pons Sorolla (Author), Carmen Gracia (Author), Priscilla Muller – Hardcover, Published by Sotheby Parke Bernet Publications, 1989



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