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Exhibition explores the impact of Spanish Post-Impressionist Joaquin Sorolla in America
Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida. Portrait of Louis Comfort Tiffany, 1911. Oil on canvas. The Hispanic Society of America, A3182.

SAN DIEGO, CA.- The San Diego Museum of Art announces the arrival of Sorolla and America, the first retrospective on Spanish Post-Impressionist Joaquín Sorolla to focus on his impact in the United States. The exhibition features nearly 150 works by Sorolla, including several of his most iconic paintings, and more than 40 never-before-displayed works. Organized by the Meadows Museum, SMU; The San Diego Museum of Art; and FUNDACION MAPFRE, with collaboration of the Hispanic Society of America, Sorolla and America will be on view at The San Diego Museum of Art from May 31 to August 26, 2014.

Arranged thematically, the exhibition features works representing the subjects and styles for which Sorolla was renowned, including portraits, beach scenes, gardens and landscapes, history paintings, and studies for decorative murals. Presenting works created, exhibited, or sold in the United States during the artist’s lifetime, this exhibition offers insight into how he inspired, and was inspired by the country.

Sorolla was internationally acknowledged in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as one of the foremost Spanish painters. He initially rose to acclaim in the United States with his prize-winning submission to the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. On the heels of this success, and a triumph at the 1900 Paris Universal Exhibition, Sorolla was invited by the philanthropist and collector Archer Milton Huntington to show his work in 1909 at The Hispanic Society in New York City. The public response to this exhibition was unprecedented, drawing more than 150,000 visitors in one month.

The success of this exhibition, which went on to tour the United States, secured Sorolla a host of prestigious commissions, including an invitation to the White House to paint the official portrait of President William Howard Taft. Many of these commissions went undocumented, and Blanca Pons-Sorolla, exhibition curator and great-granddaughter of the artist, has worked to locate these paintings and portraits, several of which are now displayed for the first time.

Notable works showcased in Sorolla and America include Another Marguerite! (¡Otra Margarita!), 1892, a dark but monumental canvas that received the Medal of Honor in the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago; Sad Inheritance (¡Triste herencia!), 1899, considered one of Sorolla’s most iconic works, which earned the highest honors at the Universal Exhibition in Paris in 1900 and Spain’s National Exhibition in 1901; Portrait of William Howard Taft, President of the United States of America (El Presidente de los Estados Unidos William Howard Taft), 1909, the first official portrait of the 27th President of the United States; and Christopher Columbus Leaving Palos, Spain, 1910, one of the largest and most important of Sorolla’s commissions.

Sorolla and America features works from many notable national and international collections including: The San Diego Museum of Art; The Hispanic Society of America; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; the Art Institute of Chicago; the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Museum of Fine Arts Boston; the Meadows Museum, Dallas; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Museo Sorolla, Madrid; the Museo de San Carlos, Mexico City; the Museo Franz Mayer, Mexico City; the permanent collection of the U.S. Department of State; and private collections from Mexico and Europe.

Sorolla is significant to the history of The San Diego Museum of Art and to the celebration of the 2015 Balboa Park Centennial.

“Sorolla’s Maria at the Granja, donated by Archer Huntington in 1925, is the first work to enter the collection and one of the most iconic and significant treasures of the Museum,” said Roxana Velásquez, Maruja Baldwin Executive Director of The San Diego Museum of Art. “We are thrilled to showcase this landmark exhibition, and to include Sorolla and America as part of the programming for the Museum’s 2015 initiative, The San Diego Museum of Art Celebrates 100 Years of Art in Balboa Park.”

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