Sorolla in the Studioby Matthew Innis |
Sorolla in the Studio: An Exceptional Loan from an Important Spanish Collection investigates Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida’s (1863–1923) creative process and working method between 1902 and 1906, a critical period in the artist’s career. The exhibition is anchored by Female Nude, a stunning painting that is on display in the United States for the first time in more than 100 years. Curated by Meadows Curatorial Fellow Daniel Ralston, Sorolla in the Studio also includes paintings and works on paper from the Meadows Museum’s growing collection of works by the artist.
Sorolla was already an established artist when he painted Female Nude in 1902, a canvas that is as much an homage to the great Spanish master Diego Velázquez (1599–1660) as it is a tribute to the model, his beloved wife Clotilde. The magnificent work was inspired by Sorolla’s desire to create a painting that would rival Velázquez’s famed painting The Toilet of Venus (1647–51), also known as The Rokeby Venus, a masterpiece of Spanish Golden Age painting that Sorolla had traveled to see in northern England.
Sorolla displayed Female Nude prominently in his personal collection, where it hung in his studio. In 1911, after being shown in Madrid, London, and Paris, the painting visited the United States for exhibitions in Chicago and St. Louis. This fall, Female Nude returns to this country for the first time since 1911, on long-term loan to the Meadows Museum from a private collection in Spain. In addition to Female Nude, Sorolla in the Studio draws on paintings in the Museum’s collection, such as The Blind Man of Toledo (1906) and Valencia Beach (c. 1904–5), as well as several preparatory drawings recently acquired from the descendants of the artist.