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, doctor of Art History and a specialist in nineteenth-and twentieth-century painting, María López Fernández has curated several exhibitions on Sorolla, such as ‘Sorolla. Jardins de Lumière’ (Ferrara, Granada, and Madrid, 2012-2013); ‘Sorolla à Paris’ (Munich, Giverny, and Madrid, 2016-2017); ‘Sorolla. Un Jardin à Peindre’ (Seville, Valencia, and Madrid, 2017-2018), and ‘À la Chasse aux Impressions. Sorolla en Petit Format’ (Madrid, 2019). She has also written scientific articles for the catalogues of these exhibitions, and for the exhibitions ‘Clotilde de Sorolla’ (Madrid, 2012) and ‘Sorolla et les Etats-Unis’ (Dallas, San Diego, Madrid 2013-2014).