Friday, May 30, 2014

Sorolla and America at the San Diego Museum of Art

San Diego Museum of Art has launched its Welcome Gallery at the front of the museum so that visitors can have a sneak peek at selected exhibitions without having to pay to enter. It contains a really fun educational component for children so that they can test to see what sort of museum staff they might be and a digital jigsaw puzzle which has a flip side with info about each image. Right now the room also contains a time line for the current Sorolla exhibition. 

This show was organized by three museums, SDMA, Meadows Museums in Dallas Texas where it began and the Mapfre Foundation in Spain with the help of the great grand daughter of Sorolla Blanca (who co-wrote the catalog) and the Hispanic Society of America. Forty of the 150 works on display  have not been seen in public before but that might not be too surprising as this prolific artist created more than 8000 works of art.  Only works created, exhibited or sold in America are included and this is the largest show of his work since 1911.

I was privileged to see the works in advance of the show opening.  The director of SDMA and the the curator of the show were happy to tell us many details about the work. But this is work that needs to be felt and not explained. I have added my selection but I encourage you to go and make your own selection and to see this artist not in the context of Spain but as a world traveler who was immensely popular in his own time. Only time will tell if he what place he takes in history, but SDMA will certainly aid in giving him a higher profile in the here and now.

The show will be on view until August 26, 2014.  Check the website for a listing of workshops and lectures.

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida. María at La Granja, 1907. Oil on canvas. The San Diego Museum of Art, gift of Mr. Archer M. Huntington in memory of his mother, Arabella D. Huntington, 1925.001.
This is the first work donated to SDMA in 1925 by Archer Huntington, one of the largest patrons of the artist.
Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida. Clotilde Seated on the Sofa, 1910. Oil on canvas. Museo Sorolla, Madrid, 900. The artist's wife charmingly depicted here and below a few years earlier. The first is a portait in the style of the time and that below has an added air of mystery and even sexual allure.

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida. Running Along the Beach, 1908. Oil on canvas. Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias, Colección Masaveu, which is followed below by a sketch for the work...the series of sketches just found to belong with the work in oil.

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida. Playing on the Beach, 1908. Charcoal and chalk on paper. Private Collection. Photo by Joaquín Cortés.

Christopher Columbus Leaving Palos, Spain, commission by Thomas Fortune Ryan and other very large collector of Sorolla's work in the USA, which is followed below with a few in the series of quite large works that appear to be studies, but could be considered to be abstract versions of the subject.

Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida. Portrait of Louis Comfort Tiffany, 1911. Oil on canvas. The Hispanic Society of America, A3182. This portrait attracts you even if you don't know who the fashionable designer is. He looks so elegant in his white suit surrounded by the lushness of the flowers, the little dog and with a palate in his hand. This is the equivalent of a standing portrait by Sargent of the most elegant ladies of the day.

I choose this seemly simple landscape as the glorious red flowers just leap off the page. Another instance of what the eye has to see in person to fully appreciate the work

The final portrait of a young lady adjusting her bathing costume with its hints of skin under the wet silk is my nod to a future exhibition at SDMA which will be a European dip into desire. 

No comments:

Post a Comment