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Friday

Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (1863 –1923)

Duncan Phillips, an art collector and critic, one of the founders of The Phillips Collection, visited Sorolla in Madrid in the beginning of 1910s. He published his article Sorolla: the Painter of Sunlight in 1913. Here's a few excerpts from the article found on archive.org

"At his best Sorolla combines truth and beauty in a very exceptional way. His distinctive achievement is the effect of sunlight on white - white skin, white sails, white dresses, white walls. His whites are never twice alike, but they speak vividly of various sorts of surfaces and edges. There are no splatter-dashes to offend the sensitive, but from Monet or from experience he has learned that a slight mixture with pure white pigment of yellow or vermilion for parts in light, and of violet or blue for parts in shadow, will produce the illusion of air that sparkles with sunbeams. His sunlight on darker tones is equally successful; on the brown skins of little naked boys that race up and down his Valencian sea beaches, and on the orange tress and flame-red soil of his Andalusian orchards."

JOAQUÍN SOROLLA Y BASTIDA, A Walk on the Beach 1909

"Now Claude Monet painted sunligght so scientifically compounded of solar beams that it made us hot around the collar, and dazzled our eyes, Yet he never made us feel, a s i hope we all had felt on summer days, that this is the best of all possible worlds and that the golden sun is chiefly responsible for its being so nice. That is Sorolla's sentiment. he is a lyric poet, one of the familiar kind who goes about singing."
"It is the joy that Sorolla puts into his pictures that makes their sunshine so irresistible."
Joaquin Sorolla Y Bastida, Under the Awning at Zarauz Beach

"....This subjective strain makes his realism intimately impressionistic. It made me eager to know the man, to shake him by the hand. And so I took the opportunity at Madrid last sprin of visiting the painter in his new home. To my complete satisfaction he was just like his pictures. Whimsical, unconventional, jovial, kindly, the French would call him "Bon garcon." It is a familiar type in the studios of the world. But how few of them have the genius of this little Spaniard!"

Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida, My Wife and Daughters in the Garden

"Sorolla was a charming host, putting my companions and myself at once at our ease by his almost boisterous familiarity, assuring us that although we were not painters, yet we were Americans, and therefore easy for him to like and understand. He spoke with enthusiasm of his friends in America, of his new commission to decorate the Hispanic Museum at New York with mural paintins, of his admiration for the American spirit, his belief that from us shall come the great art of the future."


".... at the time of my visit, (in his studio) was a still larger canvas upon which he was yet working; a picture of three women in sun-flecked, summery dresses of white and pink, stretched out full length on the sun bathed grass in poses eloquent of utter, irresistible relaxation, once more as if seen from above. I fairly gasped at the daring of this point of view and Sorolla laughed and stroked his hands and exclaimed, "C'est terrible, ca" - which being interpreted meant - the illusion is quite overpowering, as I wished it to be."
La Siesta, 1911

"But I was all the more eager to remember the exquisite sweetness and gaiety of the man who could carry his sunshine about with him in his heart."
Joaquin Sorolla Y Bastida, Elena and Maria the Painter's Daughters on Horseback in Valencian Period Costumes

"On the wall of his library hangs a print of one of Vermeer's serene interiors. Pointing to it he said significantly, "le plus moderne des anciens." If Vermeer had lived in our free and frolicsome epoch of art his brush work would probably have been as big and brave as Sorolla's, and if Sorolla had been of the later seventeenth century in Holland, he might have been as "exquisite" as Vermeer."
Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida, Clotilde and Elena on the Rocks at Javea

"...when I praised the beauty of his house and garden, he smiled as if remembering former doubts and compunctions about the realization of this expensive dream, and said very simply, "One can live only once. Let us be happy while we may."




"On the occasion of a recent visit I asked him what picture he considered the greatest in the worl. He replied promptly, as I expected, the "Las Meninas" of Velasquez."

Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida, Lighthouse walk at Biarritz 


"When Sorolla had waved us good-bye at his hospitable gate, he sauntered back to his veranda and sat down. The last we saw of him he was sitting there, as all who know his pictures would wish him ever to be, basking in the sunlight, idly watching the opal shadows flickering on his garden wall."
Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida, The Garden of the Sorolla House

Rose Bush at the Sorolla House 


The Garden at the Casa Sorolla

(detail)


Joaquin Sorolla, Maria dressed as a Valencian peasant girl


Joaquin Sorolla, Maria Watching the Fish at La Granja

Joaquin Sorolla, Mariana de Pontejos



Joaquin Sorolla, Monte Ulia San Sebastian 

The White Boat, 1905


A Boat in Albufera, 1908
~~~~~~~
About the author: "There is a Duncan Phillips story that is worth recounting. The founder is standing with Dr. Albert C. Barnes, before the Renoir masterpiece "Luncheon of the Boating Party". "That's the only Renoir you have, isn't it?" asked the fearsome Dr. Barnes, whose distinctive collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist fine art contains scores of Renoirs and is now the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia. Phillips's reply was succinct: "It's the only one I need.” (wikipedia)
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