Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (Spanish, 1863-1923) Viejo pescador en una barca
Lot 103
Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida
(Spanish, 1863-1923)
Viejo pescador en una barca
£150,000 - 200,000
US$ 200,000 - 270,000

Lot Details
Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida (Spanish, 1863-1923)
Viejo pescador en una barca
signed and indistinctly dated 'J Sorolla' (lower left)
oil on canvas
50 x 70.7cm (19 11/16 x 27 13/16in).

Footnotes

  • We are grateful to Blanca Pons-Sorolla for confirming the attribution to Joaquin Sorolla and for dating the work to 1895. The work is included in Blanca Pons-Sorolla's catalogue under inventory BPS 682.

    Provenance
    Private collection, Spain.

    Literature
    José Luis Díez and Javier Barón, Joaquin Sorolla 1863-1923, exhibition catalogue, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2009, fig. 165 (illustrated p. 250).
    (Probably) Bernardino de Pantorba, La vida y la obra de Joaquin Sorolla, Madrid, 1970, no. 1352, p. 180.

    It is likely that present lot is the same work listed by Bernardino de Pantorba with catalogue number 1352, and titled Estudio de un Viejo. According to the Sorolla family archives, it is also likely the same painting that was sold in 1898 by the artist for 2,000 pesetas. Although painted three years earlier, when the work was sold, Sorolla signed and dated the work '1898', now indistinct.

    The architecture of the houses suggests the location as La Albufera in Valencia where Sorolla spent the summer of 1895. The old gentleman in the present lot is also identified in another work from the same year, titled La bendición de la barca in the collection of Pedro Masaveu, currently in the Museo de Bellas Artes de Asturias (fig 1).

    During this time, Sorolla was experimenting with the contrast between light and shadow. He was particularly interested in subject matter relating to workers, and principally workers at sea. In the present lot, Sorolla has depicted an old fisherman resting in his boat, one hand gripping the edge, the other holding a cigarette. The immediacy to which he is portrayed allows the viewer to engage directly with the sitter whilst also appreciating the striking Valencian sun. The light reflects off his sleeve, touches of green accentuate the shadows on his weathered face and scattered dots of light are visible through the small holes in his straw hat.

    The Sorolla Exhibition at the Museo Nacional del Prado in 2009 included a work entitled Peeling Potatoes, which depicts a young man seated in a boat, the Valencian coast beyond. In both works, Sorolla uses a 'shortened composition [which] lends a sense of immediacy to the setting...enabling him to establish the perfect integration of the boat and figure into the surrounding nature'. The text for the exhibition further notes that '..the depiction of fishermen in boats had a remarkable impact on [Sorolla's] work, constituting the subject matter of some of his most important and ambitious pictures from those years..' 1

    1 José Luis Díez and Javier Barón, Joaquin Sorolla 1863-1923, exhibition catalogue, Museo Nacional del Prado, Madrid, 2009, pp. 248-249.
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