In 2020, the Hôtel de Caumont Art Centre will focus on the work of Joaquín Sorolla (1863- 1923), one of the greatest Spanish painters of the twentieth century. He produced one of the most outstanding and vibrant representations of a luminous, Mediterranean, optimistic, and modern Spain.
The international exhibitions devoted to Sorolla’s work, held during the last ten years, have already highlighted the painter’s international fame, his success in major European artistic competitions, such as the Salon de Paris and the Secession exhibitions in Munich, Vienna, and Berlin, as well as the importance of his solo exhibitions in major European and North American cities. His artistic affinities with the European and American masters of his generation, such as Sargent, Zorn, Degas, and Monet, made him one of the most important and influential artists of his time.
Based on naturalism, under the influence of Bastien-Lepage, his painting was strongly influenced by Velázquez, whom Sorolla considered his great master. This influence was enriched by luminous, loose brushstrokes, similar to Impressionism, and an incredibly vitalistic and innovative interpretation of light and colour. His masterful compositions, shaped by the new possibilities provided by photographic framing, and the influence of Japanese prints, captivate us with their spontaneity, immediacy, and modernity.
The exhibition at the Hôtel de Caumont Art Centre is based on several studies in order to address the way in which Sorolla created his works, by focusing on three important elements: the artist’s creative process, the sources of the main themes in his work, and the way in which these themes evolved in his work. Alongside ambitious large-format works will be exhibited small drawings and sketches in oils, which shed new light on his approach to art, whose main characteristics are luminosity and spontaneity.
An important part of his work process, these small-format sketches enabled him to focus on the subjects he was exploring, and experiment with compositions and colour combinations.
The exhibition will also provide an opportunity to shed light-through the artist’s copious correspondence and several photographs of the artist and his entourage-on the tireless and almost obsessive nature of his work, and will make it possible to analyse the way in which Sorolla developed his own personal style.
María López Fernández, a Doctor of Art History and a specialist in nineteenth-and twentieth-century painting, was Professor of Art History at the Universidad Complutense, and currently teaches at the Universidad Francisco de Vitoria, in Madrid. Chief Curator at the Mapfre Foundation for more than ten years, she curated the exhibitions ‘Camille Claudel’ (Madrid and Paris, 2007-2008), ‘Degas’ (Madrid, 2008), and ‘Macchiaioli. Realismo impresionista en Italia’ (‘The Macchiaioli: Impressionist Realism in Italy’) (Paris and Madrid, 2013-2014). In recent ye ars, she has worked for Sotheby’s as a specialist in nineteenth-and twentieth-century painting.
Production and creation
Agnès Wolff, Cultural Production Manager at Culturespaces, Cecilia Braschi, Director of exhibitions at the Hôtel de Caumont Art Centre, Sophie Blanc, Registrar at the Hôtel de Caumont Art Centre, and Livia Lérès and Bérangère Renard, who are responsible for iconography at Culturespaces.
Hubert le Gall, a French designer, artist, and contemporary art sculptor, has created original scenographies for many exhibitions, and in particular for the following exhibitions at the Hôtel de Caumont Art Centre: ‘Hokusai, Hiroshige, Utamaro … The Great Masters of Japan – The Georges Leskowicz Collection’ (2019); ‘Masterpieces from the Guggenheim–from Manet to Picasso: the Thannhauser Collection’ (2019); ‘Nicolas de Staël in Provence’ (2018); and ‘Sisley the Impressionist’ (2017).