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About Joaquin Sorolla - Spanish Painter

Updated on September 12, 2014
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Katherine has researched and written about many British, European and Japanese Artists - both past and present

Self Portrait (1904)
Self Portrait (1904) | Source

Introducing Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (1863-1923)

Sorolla was a very popular and prolific Spanish painter - he was renowned as a painter of the colour of light. Find out more about his Spanish version of Realism/Impressionism.

Below you will find links to:

  • biographical details
  • where his paintings can be seen in art galleries and museums - and also online
  • major exhibitions of his paintings
  • books about the painter and his paintings
  • his paintings of gardens

One of my reasons for making this website is I love Sorolla's paintings and always found it difficult to track a book about him down.

Fortunately he appears to be the subject of a resurgence of interest and there have been a number of recent publications - highlighted below. I just wish I had the chance to see more of his paintings in person.

The Life of Joaquin Sorolla (1863 - 1923)

The life of Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida

biographical information

Sorolla is a very well known and popular Spanish painter - best known for his high key colour, his painting of the colour of light and excellent draughtsmanship with respect to his painting of people.

He was mostly active in Spain but also developed a strong following in his lifetime in the USA.

He painted a lot of paintings across a variety of figurative genres - portraiture, landscapes, historical scenes. He also produced a lot of book illustrations.

He was a plein air painter and has been described as a conservative Impressionist and also as the "painter of vibrating sunshine without equal".

Walk on the Beach by Joaqun Sorolla [Public domain] Sorolla Museum
Walk on the Beach by Joaqun Sorolla [Public domain] Sorolla Museum | Source

He was well known for his paintings of activities at the beach - from fishermen with their boats, to women taking a stroll and children swimming and playing in the water.

Many of these paintings were based on scenes around the seacoast town of Jvea which is located south of Valencia where he lived.

He was much honoured during his lifetime and won a number of major awards for his painting. Awards in his early years focused on subjects of social conscience - such as the child victims of a major outbreak of polio


Born: Valencia, 27 February 1863 (his parents both died in a cholera epidemic when he was 2 years old. He was raised by an aunt and uncle.)

Died: Cercedilla, near Madrid, 10 August 1923

Married: Clotilde Garca del Castillo in 1880

Lived: Valencia and Madrid

Children and grandchildren: Maria, b.1890, Joaqun, b.1892, and Elena, b.1895


  • enrolled age 15 years old in the Academy of San Carlos in Valencia, Spain.
  • awarded a scholarship in 1884 and studied art in Rome and Paris

Influenced by: Adolph Menzel (1815-1905); Jules Bastien-Lepage (1848-1884) and Impressionism

Famous for: painterly style using high key colours

Awards / Honours:

  • won first prize at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago with his painting Otra Margarita! (Another Marguerite!) (1892). This is a painting of a woman convicted of infanticide, on her way by train to the place where her sentence will be carried out.
  • Sorolla was invited to paint a portrait of President Taft

"My Wife and Daughters in the Garden" by Joaquin Sorolla [Public domain],
"My Wife and Daughters in the Garden" by Joaquin Sorolla [Public domain], | Source

More about Sorolla

Links to more information about the life of Joaquin Sorolla

Sorolla - the Paintings

BOOK: Sorolla - The Masterworks

Rated an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars by 29 customer reviews

This is one of the new books about the paintings of Spanish Impressionist painter Joaquin Sorolla. This survey of around 100 his best paintings was compiled by his great-granddaughter Blanca Pons-Sorolla who is regarded as the best authority on his work (fulfilling the same role for her relative as Richard Ormonde does for John Singer Sargent). The paintings are also accompanied by an essay covering his life, artwork and legacy.

Sorolla: The Masterworks
Sorolla: The Masterworks

Hardcover: 224 pages

Publisher: Skira Rizzoli;

First Edition

(October 2, 2012)


VIDEO: The Studio of Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida

This video gives you a tour of his studio and the house where he lived - which is now a museum about him. You can see a lot of his paintings hung on the walls - and see aspects of the garden which he also painted

Artist in Museums and Art Galleries

A large collection of Sorolla's paintings were left to the people of Spain by Sorolla's widow when she died. The couple's own collection is now housed in the Museo Sorolla, which is a museum in the former home of the artist in Madrid.The remainder can be found in museums around the world

"Rocas de Jávea y el bote blanco" by Joaquin Sorolla [Public domain],
"Rocas de Jávea y el bote blanco" by Joaquin Sorolla [Public domain], | Source

Sorolla in Online Galleries

Below are websites where you can see paintings by Joaquin Sorolla online for free

VIDEO - Joaquin Sorolla - Cityscape and Pictures - Music Manuel de Falla


Sorolla Exhibitions in 2013 - 2014

NEW EXHIBITION: Sorolla and America* Meadows Museum from December 13, 2013 - April 19, 2014* The San Diego Museum of Art* Fundacin MAPFRE, Madrid.

BOOK: Sorolla and America

NEW for 2013: This is the catalogue/book associated with the NEW major exhibition taking place in 2013 / 14 - Sorolla and America.

The book considers the development and the nature of the relationship between Joaquin Sorolla and early twentieth century America. It considers:

  • his landmark and very popular exhibitions in New York (1909) and Chicago (1911)
  • the people who collected his work
  • the people who commissioned him to do paintings
  • the relationships he developed with American artists - such as John Singer Sargent and William Merritt Chase.

Sorolla and America
Sorolla and America

Hardcover: 256 pages

Publisher: Ediciones El Viso America

(November 16, 2013)


Prado Exhibition - Joaquin Sorolla

"Joaquin Sorolla (1863-1923)" was the first major, monographic exhibition to be devoted to the artist in Spain since 1963. It was held at the Prado in Madrid.

The exhibition was unique because it was one of the most important ever organised anywhere in the world in terms of the number and quality of the works in the exhibition

The exhibition is organised chronologically and the website retains the information about each section - listed below.

BOOK: Joaquin Sorolla - the book of the exhibition

A comprehensive review of the best paintings by Joaquin Sorolla in both European and American collections. The book has been extremely well received.

Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars (7 customer reviews)

The authors of the book are both senior people at the Museo Nacional del Prado in Madrid, Spain. Jose Luis Diez is a senior curator of nineteenth-century painting and Javier Baron Thaidigsmann is head of the Department of Nineteenth-Century Painting.

This catalogue was written to celebrate the work of Joaquin Sorolla and to accompany the 2009 exhibition at the Prado which placed Sorolla alongside the great Spanish painters: El Greco, Velazquez, and Goya. The exhibition included 138 artworks and created a 'first' - it was the largest exhibition that the Prado had ever organised for a nineteenth century painter.

Joaquin Sorolla
Joaquin Sorolla

Hardcover: 534 pagesPublisher: Thames & Hudson (August 1, 2009)


Other Exhibitions about Joaquin Sorolla


  • February 8 to March 8, 1909 - a month-long exhibition of paintings by Sorolla at the Hispanic Society of America, New York attracted more than 150,000 visitors
  • 1911 - Art Institute of Chicago and the St. Louis Art Museum: another major exhibition with more than 150 of his paintings on display

Sorolla and Gardens

BOOK: Sorolla: Gardens of Light - by Blanca Pons Sorolla (the great granddaughter of Joaquin Sorolla)

Rated 5.0 out of 5 stars by 5 customer reviews

This is a catalogue of an exhibition. It focuses on:

  • all the paintings of gardens created by Sorolla during his lifetime
  • an extended chronology of the garden paintings of La Granja, the Alcazar in Seville, the Alhambra
  • life in Granada and at his house in Madrid.

His sketch-like paintings were made from observation while painting plein air using loosh brushstrokes. As always with Sorolla they demonstrate his interest in light and shade and reflections in the water.

Sorolla: Gardens of Light
Sorolla: Gardens of Light

Hardcover: 256 pagesPublisher: Ediciones El Viso (October 16, 2012)

La Granja - Fuente y Templo (Fountain and Temple at La Granja)By Author: Ignacio Revuelta.Igrevo at en.wikipedia  (Author: Ignacio Revuelta) [CC-BY-SA-2.5],
La Granja - Fuente y Templo (Fountain and Temple at La Granja)By Author: Ignacio Revuelta.Igrevo at en.wikipedia (Author: Ignacio Revuelta) [CC-BY-SA-2.5], | Source

Gardens painted by Sorolla - You too can paint in the gardens painted by Sorolla

Below you can find links to some of the gardens painted by Sorolla which are accessible to the public.

You too can try and capture the light and colours and the scenes painted by Sorolla.

You too can paint where Sorolla painted!

Lime trees, Jardines de los Reales Alcazares, Seville(Pastel 25.5" x 19.5" ) by Katherine Tyrrell
Lime trees, Jardines de los Reales Alcazares, Seville(Pastel 25.5" x 19.5" ) by Katherine Tyrrell | Source

This is my pastel painting which I created while sat in the white building (in the shade!) that can be seen in the photo of the Alacazar Gardens in Seville below

Panorama of gardens in Real Alcazar de Sevilla By Mihael Grmek (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0]
Panorama of gardens in Real Alcazar de Sevilla By Mihael Grmek (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0] | Source

Sorolla and Grenada

Sorolla paints Grenada

Sorolla visited Granada four times in 1902, 1909, 1910 and 1917. The recent exhibition about Sorolla in Grenada brought together 24 paintings which he made while visiting the city. These include views of the Sierra Nevada and views of the city or the courtyards and towers of the Alhambra

Alhambra and Granada by Joaquin Sorolla [Public domain]
Alhambra and Granada by Joaquin Sorolla [Public domain] | Source

Sorolla and the Sea

VIDEO: Joaquin Sorolla - Sea and Beach Scenes - Music Granados

Sorolla excelled at painting local fishing boats and people at work and leisure on the beach

Sorolla and the Sea - commentary on beach scenes

Sorolla's beach scenes typically feature either fisherman or children playing. Sometimes we see ladies in their summer clothes strolling by the sea

Comments and Suggestions - comments (but not spam) are welcome

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    • Dave Lynch profile image

      David Edward Lynch 

      6 years ago from Port Elizabeth, South Africa

      I've never heard of the painter Sorolla, but I like his paintings that you have shown in your lens.


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