The story of Sorolla and America begins in 1893, with Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida‘s prize-winning submission to the World’s Columbian Exhibition in Chicago. On the heels of this success, and a triumph at the Paris Universal Exhibition in 1900, Sorolla would be invited by the philanthropist and collector Archer Milton Huntington to show his work at the Hispanic Society in New York. This exhibition, which went on to tour the United States, would secure Sorolla a host of prestigious commissions, including an invitation to the White House to paint the official portrait of President Taft—a work which is included in the exhibition.
Sorolla’s reputation in this country would also come to rest on his picturesque paintings of Spanish subjects, including the beaches of his native Valencia. It was to produce such pleasing views that Huntington commissioned Sorolla to paint a series of murals, entitled the Visions of Spain, for the library of the Hispanic Society. This task, which would occupy the artist for years to come, may be counted his most significant American commission, but the fame of the Visions of Spain has also served to overshadow other facets of Sorolla’s success in America. This exhibition, organized by Blanca Pons-Sorolla, the artist’s great-granddaughter, brings together masterpieces that will be presented to audiences for the first time in America and Madrid.
This exhibition has been organized by the Meadows Museum, SMU, The San Diego Museum of Art and FUNDACIÓN MAPFRE. The contributions of The Hispanic Society of America have been crucial to the success of this exhibition. A generous gift from The Meadows Foundation has made this project possible.
Funding for the presentation of the exhibition, Sorolla and America, in San Diego, has been provided by Presenting Sponsors Conrad Prebys and Debbie Turner. Additional support provided by Roy Polatchek, Sheila and Hughes Potiker Memorial Fund at the Jewish Community Foundation, Taffin and Gene Ray, Webster and Helen Kinnaird, Wells Fargo, Jacki Johnson-Widder and Kenneth Widder, Gordon Brodfuehrer, Christie’s, Aaron Feldman, Gallagher Levine, Robert and Lynne Hayes, Marjorie Ann Mopper, Union Bank, Dana M. Baldwin, Toni and John Bloomberg, Canterbury Consulting, Valerie and Harry Cooper, Merrill Lynch, Kelly S. Garton–The Garton Group, Paul F. Mosher, Sarah B. Marsh-Rebelo and John Rebelo, Lois Roon, The John M. and Sally B. Thornton Foundation, United Technologies Corporation, Dolores A. Clark, AKT, the Members of The San Diego Museum of Art, and the County of San Diego Community Enhancement Program. Institutional support for the Museum is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.