A detailed study of hands, beach scenes, and family exemplify some of the themes represented in the ten Joaquín Sorolla drawings newly acquired by the Meadows Museum. The drawings range in technique from rapid, plein air sketches to a finished composition and a study for a well-known painting, and incorporate a variety of media, including ink, pencil, and charcoal.
Mark A. Roglán, the Linda P. and William A. Custard Director of the Meadows Museum and Centennial Chair in the Meadows School of the Arts, says, “Together these drawings mark a major contribution to the Meadows Museum’s collection of 19th-century works on paper and complement our existing holdings of paintings and drawings by Sorolla; indeed, this acquisition more than doubles those holdings, providing an outstanding opportunity for study.”
The suite of drawings reflects some of the artist’s most visited themes and the diverse subject matter includes standards of Sorolla’s oeuvre not yet represented at the Meadows. Nine of the drawings were purchased directly from the family of the artist through funds provided by Elizabeth Solender, Gary L. Scott, and Cheryl and Kevin Vogel. The tenth drawing was acquired from a private collector, and Elizabeth Solender and Gary L. Scott provided funds for its purchase.
Several of the drawings, many of which are double-sided, feature one of Sorolla’s favorite subjects: his family. These include María and Joaquín Sitting before a Fireplace, Clotilde Reading, and Children Playing. A master of beach scenes, Sorolla talents are displayed in many of the drawings such as Fisherman with his Baskets, Oxen Taking Out the Boat, Taking Out the Boat, Fisherman Squatting with Children and a Boat in the Background, and Boat, Sail, Children.
One sheet features the 1903 preparatory sketch, in pencil, for one of the artist’s most important commissions, The Regency (oil on canvas, 1906, now in the Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores in Madrid). The most finished of the compositions is a charcoal study of a man’s clasped hands resting on his knee. Sorolla originally gave this early drawing to his professor, the artist Francisco Domingo Marqués (1842–1920), a fellow Valencian who is represented by three works in the Meadows Museum’s collection.
Amanda W. Dotseth, who will assume the role of curator at the Meadows Museum in September, says, “These drawings, often quickly rendered, are particularly valuable for the unusually intimate glimpses they offer into the painter’s ongoing working process and home life. They suggest that there was little division for Sorolla between his personal life and his professional one, or even between one type of composition and the next. Perhaps more than a frugal reuse of paper, these works allow us to witness Sorolla developing multiple, quite distinct, compositions in quick succession.”