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Museo del Prado Closes Sorolla Exhibition After Breaking a Ten Year Old Attendance Record
Joaquín Sorolla, Female Nude. Oil on canvas, 106 x 186 cm. 1902. Private collection.
MADRID.- The Museo del Prado has broken a ten year old attendance record with its Sorolla exhibition. More than 450,000 persons visited the exhibition which closed last Sunday.

The director of the Museo del Prado, Miguel Zugaza, made the information public today saying that this exhibition was visited by more persons than others held in previous years.

The exhibition “Joaquín Sorolla (1863-1923)” offered the visiting public an outstanding opportunity to see more than 100 paintings by the great Valencian master in what constituted the most comprehensive and ambitious survey of his finest works. Among the 102 paintings on display, loaned from museums and collections worldwide, were all the masterpieces by Sorolla that brought him most fame. They included Return from Fishing (1894), loaned by the Musée d’Orsay in Paris; Sewing the Sail (1896), from the Galleria Internazionale d’Arte Moderna di Ca’Pesaro in Venice; Sad Inheritance (1899), from the Bancaja Collection; Evening Sun (1903), from The Hispanic Society of America in New York, which returned to Spain for the first time since it was sold to New York by the artist himself; The Photographer Christian Franzen (1903), from the Lorenzana Collection; Female Nude (1902), and The white Boat. Jávea (1905), both from a private collection.

The exhibition also included important examples of Sorolla’s work from the Prado’s own collection, including And they still say Fish is expensive! (1894), and Boys on the Beach (1909), as well as a large number of paintings from the Museo Sorolla in Madrid, including The Horse’s Bath (1909), Strolling along the Sea Shore (1909), and The Pink Gown (1916). The exhibition also featured the dazzling group of fourteen monumental panels entitled Visions of Spain, painted by Sorolla for the Hispanic Society of America in New York. They travelled for the first time in their history for exhibition in Spain through the agreement reached with Bancaja. The large number of works by Sorolla assembled at the Prado, all of which are considered masterpieces by experts on the artist, made this exhibition unique and unrepeatable.

Over the last few decades Sorolla has been the subject of study in the form of numerous exhibitions and other projects, but there had not been a major retrospective of this type since the one devoted to the artist in 1963 in the Casón del Buen Retiro, organised by the Ministry of Science and Education. In addition, this exhibition, the first to be devoted to Sorolla by the Prado, emphasised the idea of interpreting him as the last great master within its collections. Sorolla was thus seen to fall within the great tradition of the Spanish School through an exhibition of the same scale, importance and scholarly rigour as the others devoted to the leading names of Spanish art held at the Prado over the years, such as those on Velázquez, Ribera, Murillo, El Greco, Zurbarán and Goya.

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September 16, 2009

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