engaging with sorolla at sotheby’s new york


Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (1863-1923) is a Spanish artist well known for his paintings depicting the people of his native Spain.  I recently included his monumental series –  “The Provinces of Spain” at the Hispanic Society in New York –  in a recent post on the book Murals of New York City.  In their upcoming sale of 19th Century European Art, Sotheby’s has a beautiful example of Sorolla’s work, which perfectly captures the spirit and innocence of Spain in the years just before the First World War.



“Buscando Mariscos, Playa de Valencia” portrays a young girl carefully prodding the wet beach with her stick looking for clams.  Sorolla’s ability to so beautifully capture the bright Spanish sunlight as it plays on the sand and the crashing waves gives life to this endearing image.  Here we see a poor child dressed in her simple dress and kerchief working as the tide recedes, rather than the children of wealthy vacationing families playing in the waves which was so often Sorolla’s subject.



When buying art, you have to feel a connection to the piece.  This marvelous work by Sorolla engages me on so many levels:  I can hear the pounding surf and smell the salty sea air.  I can even feel the warm sun on my face and the wet sand between my toes.  It would be a pleasure to live with this work and see it every day, and that can’t be said about every piece of art.  At times I’ve written about works that challenge us in our way of understanding the world.  But sometimes one just wants to relax and enjoy what we see.  And this Sorolla at Sotheby’s does just that.


richard rabel
richard rabel: interiors + art
interior design and art advising
new york city

image credits: Sotheby’s New York, 19th Century European Art, lot 48, Joaquin Sorolla, Buscando Mariscos, signed and inscribed.  Estimate US$1,000,000 – 1,500,000. Viewing 1-7 November; Sale 8 November 2013.