Joaquin Sorolla Biography | Oil Paintings.

2-27-1863 Valencia, ESP – 8-10-1923 Madrid, ESP

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Sorolla, Joaquin

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida received his initial art instruction at 9 years old in his local town. At eighteen years old he headed out to Madrid, studying the old master paintings in the Museo del Prado. After completing his military service at twenty-two, Sorolla received a grant for a four-year painting study in Rome with Emilio Sala and José Villegas Cordero. From Rome, he took a long trip to Paris in 1885 to see first-hand the modern paintings, and especially exhibitions of Jules Bastien-Lepage and Adolf von Menzel.

In 1890, his grant finished, he moved to Madrid, and for the next decade, Joaquín Sorolla focused mainly on painting large canvases of Orientalist, mythological, historical, and social subjects, for display in salons and exhibitions in Spain, France, Italy, Germany and the USA.

His first critical success was the oil painting Another Marguerite, which was awarded a gold medal at the National Exhibition in Madrid in 1892, then, first prize at the Chicago International Exhibition. Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida based this composition on an incident he witnessed on a third-class railway carriage between Madrid and Valencia, a female prisoner was being escorted by two civil guards. When Joaquín Sorolla's talent was fully recognized was when he exhibited Sad Inheritance, a highly finished large canvas for public consideration in 1899. The subject was children playing and bathing at the sea in Valencia, but three of the children are crippled by polio, under the supervision of a monk. This sad painting earned Sorolla 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 the following year.

Many preparatory oil sketches for Sad Inheritance were painted to get the composition just right, and Joaquín Sorolla thought well enough of these sketches that he presented as gifts to his American artist friends two of them, one to John Singer Sargent and the other to William Merritt Chase.

Although formal portraiture was not Joaquín Sorolla's first love, because it restricted his creativity and he was not interested in the subjects, portrait commissions were profitable. In 1909 he traveled to the United States to paint a series of portraits, capped off by being invited to the White House to paint the Portrait of Mr.Taft, President of the United States.

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida visited the United States for the second time in 1911. And in Paris, later that year Sorolla met Archie Huntington and signed a contract to paint a series on the everyday life in Spain's different regions. These fourteen magnificent enormous oil murals, 14 feet in height and 227 total feet in length, are to this day in the Hispanic Society of America building in Manhattan's Washington Heights district. Despite the immensity of each canvas, Joaquín Sorolla painted all but one in the specific locales en plein air, at each site painting models posed in local costume.

Art Movement: Post-Impressionism, Costumbrismo.
Artists Influencing Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida: Diego Velázquez, Francisco Pradilla, Emilo Sala, José Villegas Cordero.
He Traveled To Italy, France, USA, England, Germany, Portugal.
Painters Joaquín Sorolla Influenced: Alberto Pla y Rubio, Julio Romero de Torres.
Artist Biography compiled by Albert L. Mansour at The World's Artist, with text adapted from Wikipedia.

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