Meadows Museum Acquires Suite of Drawings by Joaquín Sorolla

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Acquisition more than doubles the museum’s holdings of works by Sorolla

DALLAS (SMU) — August 27, 2018 — The Meadows Museum, SMU, announces the acquisition of ten drawings on six sheets by celebrated Spanish artist Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1863–1923). 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. The suite of drawings reflects some of the artist’s favorite 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, and funds for their purchase were generously provided by Elizabeth Solender, Gary L. Scott, and Cheryl and Kevin Vogel. The tenth was acquired from a private collector, and funds for its purchase were provided by Elizabeth Solender and Gary L. Scott.

Several of the drawings, many of which are double-sided, feature one of Sorolla’s most frequent subjects: his family. These include María and Joaquín Sitting before a Fireplace (c. 1897), Clotilde Reading (c. 1903), and Children Playing (c. 1903). Sorolla was also a master of beach scenes, and these are well represented in the group by Fisherman with his Baskets (c. 1903), Oxen Taking Out the Boat (c. 1903), Taking Out the Boat (c. 1903), Fisherman Squatting with Children and a Boat in the Background (c. 1903), and Boat, Sail, Children (c. 1903).

The recto of 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.”

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.”

About the Meadows Museum

The Meadows Museum is the leading U.S. institution focused on the study and presentation of the art of Spain. In 1962, Dallas businessman and philanthropist Algur H. Meadows donated his private collection of Spanish paintings, as well as funds to start a museum, to Southern Methodist University. The museum opened to the public in 1965, marking the first step in fulfilling Meadows’s vision to create “a small Prado for Texas.” Today, the Meadows is home to one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of Spanish art outside of Spain. The collection spans from the 10th to the 21st centuries and includes medieval objects, Renaissance and Baroque sculptures, and major paintings by Golden Age and modern masters.