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Career changing garden painting by Sorolla offered at Bonhams
Una azotea con flores, (A rooftop with flowers), was painted in 1902 when Sorolla was experimenting with the Impressionist style and colour tone. Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- One of Joaquin Sorolla’s first garden studies, Una azotea con flores, is to be sold at Bonhams Rau/UNICEF sale in London on 5 December. It is estimated at £150,000-200,000.

The proceeds from the 85 lot sale of works from the renowned collection of the German philanthropist, the late Dr Gustav Rau, will be used to benefit the Foundation of the German Committee for UNICEF – for the children of the world.

Una azotea con flores, (A rooftop with flowers), was painted in 1902 when Sorolla was experimenting with the Impressionist style and colour tone which characterised many of his major works in the early 1900s. During this time he also broadened his repertoire, painting more portraits and adding new themes such as garden scenes.

While gardens were to provide the backcloth to some of his most successful and popular paintings, Sorolla also painted them as subjects in their own right. Una azotea con flores is one of his first ventures in this field making it historically and artistically important as well as a beautiful painting in its own right.

Gardens had a profound effect on the artist. As he wrote in a letter of 1917, following a visit to Seville, 'what roses, what arbours, ponds, tiled benches, magnificent trees, all smelling of orange blossom, all warmed by an atmosphere filled with life, joy, sunshine... my soul is laughing'. He spent many hours visiting gardens in Paris, Alicante, Valencia and Andalusia, and designed the gardens of his Madrid residence in an Andalusian style, intending them as places of peace and tranquillity.

Una azotea con flores was one of the 450 works shown at Sorolla’s first one-man show, which took place at Galeries Georges Petit in Paris in 1906. The exhibition was a resounding critical and financial success, with 65 works selling for a total of 230,650 francs.

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