THE RETURN OF JOAQUÍN SOROLLA
The regional panels of Joaquín Sorolla’s “Visiono f Spain” have returned to Valencia’s Bancaja Cultural Centre from El Prado in Madrid to go on display one more time before being sent back to New York on the 28th January. The panels are being shown alongside other works by the Valencian artist, such as Sol de la tarde (“Evening Sun”) and Triste herencia (“Sad Inheritance”).
The exhibition comprises 14 large panels that North American hispanist Milton Huntington commissioned Sorolla to paint in 1911 to decorate one of the halls in the Hispanic Society of America, an organisation established in the early 20th century to disseminate Spanish culture in the United States. The hall in question, which was originally to be a library, subsequently became the Sorolla Hall.
Sorolla spent 1912 travelling the length and breadth of Spain capturing typical images from which to compose the huge Hispanic Society panels. In 1913 he changed his mind, however, end althoughhe did still use some of these images, he started to paint the panels directly from life instead, and it was in this year that he painted the monumental La fiesta del pan (“The Bread Festival”). He painted five panels the following year: Los nazarenos (“The Nazarenes”); La jota (jota being a typical folk song and dance); EL concejo del Roncal (“Roncal Council”); Los bolos (“Skittles”) and El encierro (“Bull Running”). He painted another four in 1915: El baile (“The dance”), Los toreros (“The bullfighters”). La romería (“The Pilgrimage”) and El pescado (“The Fish”). Sorolla painted just one panel in 1916- Las grupas (“The Haunches”)- and one in 1917: El Mercado (“The Market”). Between November 1918 and January 1919 he painted El palmeral d’Elx (“The Palm Grove in Elx”) and then during the remainder of 1919 he painted the final panel: La pesca del atún (“Tuna Fishing”). Created towards the end of his active life, this is Sorolla’s largest work, and various writings reveal that Sorolla himself believed it to be his greatest work.
Critics have declared the Bancaja exhibition to not only a collection of Sorolla’s greatest works but also one of the greatest collections of the entire 20th century. Following this, the second outing of the exhibition in Valencia, the works will return to Nueva York, where restoration work on the roof of the Sorolla Hall will have completed, according to Chief Curator at the Hispanic Society, Marcus B. Burke, who also revealed that it was unlikely the works would ever leave the city again due to the risks involved in rolling them up for transportation.
Almost two years since Bancaja initiated its Joaquín Sorolla cultural project following an agreement with the Hispanic Society of America to bring the “Vision of Spain” panels from New York, the Valencian artist’s paintings have been admired by almost two million people at the various museums in which they have been displayed.
fuente: CVNews 32/