Meadows Museum presents "Sorolla in the Studio"
Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1863–1923) was already a well-established artist when he painted Female Nude in 1902, an intimate and exquisite painting of his wife. The work was inspired by Sorolla’s desire to create a painting that would rival Diego Velázquez’s (1599–1660) The Toilet of Venus (1647–51), a masterpiece of Spanish Golden Age painting that Sorolla saw at its then-home at Rokeby Park in northern England. While Female Nude is an homage to Velázquez, it also captures Sorolla’s artistic mastery and distinct style.
Female Nude was long held in Sorolla’s personal collection, where it was on prominent display in his studio. In 1911, the painting first visited the US for exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago and the then City Art Museum in St. Louis. Female Nude returns to the U.S. for the first time since those 1911 exhibitions, as a long-term loan to the Meadows Museum from a private collection in Spain. To celebrate the arrival of this important work, the Meadows will explore a key period in Sorolla’s life, looking at his artistic process and the evolution of his work in a variety of media between 1902 and 1906.
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 works on paper acquired by the Meadows last year from the artist’s descendants. Together, these works show how Sorolla developed initial compositional ideas in loose, quickly rendered sketches and transformed them into masterful large-scale paintings.