Thursday, February 26, 2015

Sorolla's "Visions of Spain" at the Hispanic Society of America

Part of Joaquin Sorolla's "Vision of Spain" Mural Commission at the Hispanic Society of America in NYC

Yesterday was consumed merrily from pre-dawn to midnight with a visit to Joaquin Sorolla's (1863-1923) masterful mural commission "Visions of Spain" (a 14-mural project representing the Iberian Peninsula) at the Hispanic Society of America in New York City. The tour was led by Rob Liberace, coordinated through the Art League in Old Town Alexandria ... so Randy and I were with friends from previous art historical trips, Rob's drawing classes, and many new acquaintances.

The murals vary from 12 to 14 feet in height and total 227 feet in length (source: Wikipedia) and all but one of these immense paintings were created en plein air.  The physical, logistical, artistic challenges of composing and creating each of these masterpieces with the 1000s of unique characters dressed in local costumes ... is simply unimaginable.  Sorolla finished the first mural in 1913 and last in 1919 ... a commission contracted by his great patron, Archer Milton Huntington ... the founder of the Hispanic Society of America to be hung on permanent display in what is now the Sorolla room.

It's there for you to see, a well-kept secret, but free and open to the public.

Sorolla's grand room-filling mural that greets you on the far wall. He was the true painter of light.
The Hispanic Society of America holds amazing art treasures with a huge concentration of Joaquin Sorolla's work -- my favorite artist.

Sorolla's painting of his birth home of Valencia was my favorite ... although it isn't easy to choose
One of my thoughts on seeing Sorolla's 14 masterpieces circling the room was of all those instances that visitors, young and old would enter my tent at an art fair or studio or other exhibits and ask with amazement, "Are ALL of these yours?".

Imagine what they'd say standing in the midst of these works.

One of our additional treats was to witness the rehanging of Sorolla's portrait of Louis Comfort Tiffany in the upper gallery at the Hispanic Society. One in the crew who hung the work mentioned that the painting was created in Tiffany's garden in Cold Spring Harbor (the North Shore of Long Island).  I lived there and attended Cold Spring Harbor High Laurelton Hall, Tiffany's estate that had sweeping views of the harbor that I enjoyed from a different vantage point for many years.
Sorolla's portrait of Louis Comfort Tiffany being reinstalled at the Hispanic Society
School. A little research marked the spot as

What I love about Joaquin Sorolla's work is the sheer joy that emanates from his paintings. His heart and soul flowed through his paintbrush. He clearly loved to paint, loved the people around him, loved his homeland, adored his family.  He captured light, captured life, honestly and beautifully.

What a joy!!!!

The photos are my own ... and may be distorted since the paintings tower above me.  So, these will give you an idea of how gorgeous these works are, but not the perfect picture.

Thanks Rob and Margaret Cerutti ... and fellow travelers for one heck of a day!

Events and Exhibits
  • February: "The Art of Romance," Atelier Group Exhibition, 1144 Walker Road, Suite G, Great Falls, VA.Open Wed. and Sat., noon to 4pm
  • April 9 - May 1: Women Painters of the Southeast Annual Juried Exhibition, Blue Ridge, GA
  • June 5-7: Rittenhouse Square: The Original Art Show, Philadelphia, PA. 
    June 29-July 5: Telluride Plein Air, Telluride, CO.  Juried as one of 32 artists who will spend the week painting this very cool town lined with Victorian houses, bustling street against a gorgeous mountainous backdrop.
    July 11-12: Wickford Art Festival, Wickford, RI.
  • Paint with Me in Italy Plein Air Workshop: July 27 to August 2, 2015. Registration is now open. (This is where "Piemonte Lunch" was "born"!)
  • See the Events page for more info/updates
  • Ongoing: Visit the studio I share with 14 other artists at the Artists’ Atelier, Great Falls, VA open Wed. and Sat.,
    12- 4pm
Thanks for reading!

Phone: 703.403.7435

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