Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida is a Spanish painter born in Valencia in 1863. At age two, his parent's death from cholera meant that his maternal aunt and uncle raised him. However, the family was supportive and encouraging with his interest in painting, and at age 15 enrolled at the Academy of San Carlos.
While his early paintings feature historical scenes, Sorolla soon discovered the plein air Impressionist painting technique. His oil paintings uniquely reveal Valencia, Spain's bright sunlit beach and coastal locations.
Joaquin Sorolla paintings exemplify Spanish art at its best; his portrait and landscape paintings all feature the bright Spanish sunlight, and he is known as the “Spanish Master of Light.”
His painting style aligns with the Impressionist Movement, Luminism, and Modern Art of the early 20th Century. As the artist's contemporaries, John Singer Sargent and Anders Zorn paintings are often on display alongside the artworks of Sorolla.
While studying at the Fine Arts School of San Carlos, Sorolla won a scholarship to study in Rome. Traveling to Paris, he also toured Europe and America. His portrait painting of American President Taft in the White House is at the National Portrait Gallery as part of the Smithsonian.
A Sorolla exhibition at The St Louis Art Museum and the Art Institute of Chicago displaying 161 of his oil paintings gave life to a continuing love affair with American art lovers.
Sorolla’s artworks are widely collected, and in 1933, J Paul Getty purchased 10 of his paintings for display at Getty Museum in Los Angeles.
His membership in The Hispanic Society of America in New York facilitated a 1909 exhibition of 350 of his paintings. Again, Sorolla's success was assured, with the exhibition achieving great success and buyers purchasing 200 of his oil paintings.
The most famous paintings by Sorolla contain a series of 14 gigantic murals, 12 to 14 feet in height and 227 feet long. The murals are in the Hispanic Society of America building in Manhattan, where they are on display today.
Other famous Sorolla paintings include The Horse’s Bath 1909, large oil on canvas currently at the Sorolla Museum in Madrid.
After Bathing 1915 is a perfect example from Joaquin Sorolla “Painter of Light,” also at the Sorolla Museum.
Two of our most popular Joaquin Sorolla paintings are Strolling along the Seashore (also known as Women Walking on the Beach, and Two Sisters of Valencia. The Art Institute of Chicago owns both paintings.
In 2008, The Three Sails by Joaquin Sorolla was sold to an undisclosed buyer for over $4.5m by Sotheby’s.
Sorolla married Clotilde Garcia del Castillo, with whom he had three children. In 1920, at 57, a major stroke left him paralyzed, and he died three years later, in August 1923.
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