Joaquin Sorolla: Spanish Master of Light
Gabriele Finaldi, Javier Barón Thaidigsmann, Véronique Gérard Powell, Christopher Riopelle, Oliver Tostmann o.a.
The National Gallery London, 2019
Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1863–1923) was the leading Spanish painter of his day, world-famous when Picasso was still struggling to establish a name. This sumptuously illustrated book traces Sorolla’s career at home and abroad, focusing on more than 60 canvases. These include portraits, landscapes, the bathers and seascapes for which he is most famous, and genre scenes of Spanish life.
His monumental early works established the artist’s reputation as an unflinching social realist. Sending pictures strategically to major exhibitions across Europe, Sorolla depicted peasants, fishermen, and sail-makers eking out meager existences; young women forced into prostitution; and naked, disabled orphans. Rarely had Impressionist technique been turned to such provocative ends. As Sorolla found a wealthy clientele toward the turn of the century, his focus turned to sun-drenched scenes of leisure and elegant sociability: beautiful women stroll in fashionable resorts and children gambol on the seashore. Here, leading scholars offer a contemporary assessment of his career and explore Sorolla’s relations with the most famous bravura painters of the day, including John Singer Sargent and the Swedish artist Anders Zorn. An illustrated chronology by Blanca Pons Sorolla, the artist’s great-granddaughter, provides additional information.