Joaquín Sorolla Retrospective Opens At Meadows Museum December 13

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (Spanish, 1863–1923), “Valencia Beach: Morning Light,” 1908, oil on canvas. The Hispanic Society of America.

DALLAS, TEXAS — The Meadows Museum, in partnership with the San Diego Museum of Art and Madrid, Spain’s Fundación MAPFRE, has organized “Sorolla and America,” the first retrospective of work by Spanish Impressionist Joaquín Sorolla to focus on the impact the artist had in the United States. On view at the Meadows December 13–April 19, the exhibition feature nearly 160 works by Sorolla, including several of his most iconic paintings, as well as works that were purchased during the artist’s lifetime and have never been exhibited publicly.

The exhibition will travel to the San Diego Museum and to Madrid after the Meadows.

Sorolla (1863–1923) was internationally acknowledged in the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries as one of the foremost Spanish painters and rose to acclaim following major exhibitions of his work in the United States in the early Twentieth Century. Those exhibitions were organized with the help of Archer Milton Huntington — founder of The Hispanic Society of America — who became acquainted with Sorolla in London in 1908.

The public response to these exhibitions was unprecedented; the first exhibition Huntington arranged in New York in 1909 drew more than 150,000 visitors in one month. Later that year, that same exhibition traveled to Buffalo to the museum now known as the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and to the Copley Society of Art in Boston. It also inspired a second exhibition, which traveled in 1911 to the Art Institute of Chicago and Saint Louis Art Museum.

The enthusiastic reception of Sorolla’s work led to a series of portrait commissions for the artist from notable Americans, including President William Howard Taft and Louis Comfort Tiffany. Because those commissions and a large portion of the work Sorolla produced for the American exhibitions quickly entered private collections, much of it has gone undocumented.

Blanca Pons-Sorolla — great-granddaughter of the artist and guest curator of “Sorolla and America” — has worked for decades to locate these paintings and portraits. The exhibition will feature more than 100 works that have not been publicly exhibited since they were presented in the United States during Sorolla’s lifetime, including more than 40 works that will be publicly displayed for the first time. Together, the works offer an exceptional insight into how Sorolla inspired, and was inspired by, America.

Mark A. Roglán, the Linda P. and William A. Custard director of the Meadows Museum and centennial chair in the Meadows School of the Arts, said, “The research Blanca Pons-Sorolla has done to uncover works that have survived in private homes, coupled with our own collection of Sorolla works, will allow us to present the pivotal artist in a way no one has seen him in the last century.”

The  320-page catalog for Sorolla and America published by Ediciones El Viso will, for the first time, include a complete list of all works exhibited, created and sold in America during the artist’s lifetime, including works that have yet to be located. The catalog is edited by Pons-Sorolla and Mark A. Roglán. 

The Meadows Museum at SMU is at 5900 Bishop Boulevard. For further information, www.meadowsmuseumdallas.org or 214-768-2516.

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (Spanish, 1863–1923), “Portrait of Louis Comfort Tiffany,” 1911, oil on canvas. The Hispanic Society of America.

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