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Artists who paints in oil en plein aire. Member of the three member Plein Aire Cottage Artists. Members: Mary Rose Holmes, Violetta Chandler and Helen Tilston

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sorolla, Madrid Part 11 Helen's trip to Madrid

Mending the Sail 1896 (Museo d'Arte a Ca'Pesaro, Venice
Thank you for your supporting comments and emails on my trip to Venice & Madrid. Sorolla hit a chord with many who were unfamiliar with his work and wanted to know more.

Self Portrait 1900
 Joaquin Sorolla received his intial art education at 14 yrs of age in Valencia. At 18 he travelled to Madrid and self studied at the Prado Museum. Following his military service, he received a grant for 4 yrs study in Rome Italy. In 1885 a sojourn in Paris France provided him his initial introduction to modern painting. In 1888 maried Clothide Garcia del Castillo (whom Sorolla met at her father's studio).  In 1900 at the Paris Universal Exposition he was nominated as Knight of the Legion of Honour.  Though subsequent large-scale exhibitions in Germany and London were greeted with more restraint, while in England in 1908 Sorolla met Archer Milton Huntington, who made him a member of The Hispanic Socy. of America in New York City, and invited him to exhibit there in 1909. The exhibition comprised 356 paintings, 195 of which sold. Sorolla spent five months in America and painted more than twenty portraits, including one of my favourites "Louis Comfort Tiffany 1911 (Tiffany glass)
Louis Comfort Tiffany by Sorolla painted and purchased in 1911 by sitter for $800.
A la Senora de Madrazo/J Sorolla B. 1906
Detail of Antonio Garcia on beach by J Sorolla B
Maria (Sorolla's daughter) painting in el Prado 1907(Maria had been severly ill and is now recovered)
A gypsy woman 1912
The Pink Robe 1916- Mureo Sorolla Madrid
Sorolla understood light and shadow and this was from his constantly painting en plein aire.  He one time commented to friends

"I hate darkness. Claude Monet once said that painting in general did not have light enough in it. I agree with him. We painters, however, can never reproduce sunlight as it really is. I can only approach the truth of it.”

Sorolla also once said:  "Modern impressionistic movement has given us one discovery, the color violet. It is the only discovery of importance in the art world since Velazquez."

Sad Inheritance painted 1900. Crippled children (polio epidemic) bathing under supervision of a monk

It is time for lunch

I enjoyed a delicious lunch of grilled fish, salad with olives  at this restaurant.

It is always a joy to people watch and the fashions

With a heart full of gladness and inspiration I bid a fond farewell to Madrid and I promise to return.
Steps to Sorolla home and museum in Madrid
Thank you Joaquin Sorolla and all the beautiful people of Madrid and until we meet again, I will hold you dearly to my heart.


  1. Hello Helen:
    Strangely,the self portrait [1900] which you show at the start of this post, reminded us closely of a similar one by Cezanne [an artist whom, perhaps above all others of the period, we so admire].

    We were not surprised to read of Sorolla's fascination with light as it seems to us that in his paintings the way light is controlled shows an amazing sensitivity of touch. Maybe this is the case with all en plein air artists, something about which you would know and appreciate a great deal more than us.

    As for the café where you had lunch, in the open air, it looks to have been a perfect spot to have chosen.

    We wish you a good journey on your onward travels.

  2. Hola Jane and Lance

    Lovely to hear from you. I can see the resemblance to a Cezanne self portrait, how observant of you. I agree Cezanne was a master and I share your taste in his work.

    Sorolla's paintings, from a distance, absolutely glow with light and shadow. I viewed one of his paintings from an upstairs room to the ground floor (through a window for an endless amount of time)and the dappled light was mesmerizing. He also understood reflected light which is visible in nature.

    Yes, I believe the lunch I enjoyed in Madrid, could only be made better had both of you joined me.


  3. Dearest Helen,

    What a lovely post. I am so pleased to meet you, for you came to visit me tonight and I always wonder how people find each other! But thank you for sharing these lovely artists with us and I am going to go visit your other blogs!!! Anita

  4. Hello Anita from Castles Crowns and Cottages

    Thank you for stopping over and lovely to meet you. I will be making a habit of visiting you and getting to know you.

  5. Hello Helen
    Mending the Sail looks such a wonderful painting. It is hard to see from a photograph, but all the folds in the fabric looks to be so beautifully painted. There is an art gallery not far from where I live, the website is:Tallentyre-gallery.co.uk
    Many of the artists who exhibit there use fabric in their still life paintings. I have always thought folds of fabric must be incredibly hard to paint, although as I am not an artist, I would have no idea about this.
    I am so glad you had such a wonderful time in Madrid, and thank you for sharing your experience.

  6. Hello Abby from My Spotty Pony

    I am always happy when you visit me.I will be looking up that gallery and look forward to learning more.

    Yes, folds can be a challenge and really make a painting when captured perfectly.

    I am ready to return to Madrid again but I must practice willpower!!!!
    Wishing you a great week

  7. Hello Helen, thank you for your kind words of encouragement on my blog. I have throughly enjoyed following your trip to Madrid and introducing me to Joaquin Sorolla. His ability to capture the elusive quality of light is amazing. I have painted in oils for the past ten years but have taken a break (for many reasons). I haven't tried plein air painting and admire you for the lifestyle you have created for yourself to pursue your art. Looking forward to following your journey with you.
    Kindest thoughts, Kerry

  8. Hello Kerry from French and Sparrow
    Thanks for stopping by and saying hello. I will look forward to seeing your paintings. I feel you might enjoy plein air. One gets totally absorbed when outdoors. The sights, sounds, smells are all magical. Hope you have a brilliant week

  9. Helen thank you so, so much for leaving such a lovely message, I am thrilled to have found your wonderful blog! Your own art is stunning, the light and vibrancy in your work is delicious!!!! Thank you also for highlighting this amazing artist, I have never come across Sorolla before and love his work, it's so full of the Mediterranean sun. You have a new and happy follower! Warmest wishes - Glenda

  10. Helen, I read your second post with much interest. I especially liked reading Sorolla's thoughts on sunlight "We painters can never reproduce sunlight as it really is" How true! Who could ever do that! Colour itself ceases to exist, to the human eye, when it's dark... it's only the effect of light on nature and objects which allows our mind to "form" and perceive shapes, shadows and colour!I believe that the greatness of Impressionism derives from its realistic approach to the outside world, represented in a very spontaneous way: through the immediate, spontaneous perception of reality, without elaboration. This is art.
    Love the pics of Madrid!

  11. Good Morning Glenda at The Paper Mulberry.
    How delighted I was to see your stopped by and visited. Your kind words and encouragement mean so much to me. I am delighted to read you love Sorolla's work. He also was a beautiful human being who loved and provided for his family.
    Fondly, Helen xx

  12. Anna,welcome to my humble home this morning. I have just made a cappucino so I will ask you to join me on the balcony for a discussion of light, art and painters. Your observations on art are in keeping with my thoughts. We would have much to discuss.
    Now we must return to our paintboxes.

  13. Helen, how lovely to have a part 2 on Sorolla. I really enjoyed reading and looking at both these posts. Thankyou for visiting me and leaving those very kind comments. Don't worry I struggle with all this technology too, but I don't like to be defeated. I am feeling very well now, thankyou so much for asking. I look forward to seeing what you will write about next time. With love, Linda x

  14. Hello Linda

    How lovely to have a visit from you.
    I am thrilled you enjoyed Sorolla Part 11 - I post weekly usually Saturday or Sunday.
    So happy you are feeling better and I am looking forward to reading your next post
    Hug Helen

  15. I adore A la Senora de Madrazo. Something so suave and calming about it. And Sad Inheritance just pulls at my heart. I just saw the film Sister Kenny and polio has been haunting my brain lately. So heartbreaking.

  16. Hello Katie
    A la Senora de Madrazo is, I agree, a very sauve senora and has that protective fatherly image. And Sad Inheritance just pulls at my heart is so true. I must look for the film your referred to by Sister Kenny on polio. I remember when I travelled to Molokai in Hawaii and followed the story of Fr. Damian and the lepers, I had that same feeling you speak of. These diseases are quite recent in history!
    Thanks for the visit

  17. Helen! So funny to visit and find out that you've 'truly' been to Venice recently...so ironic! Thank you so much for your wonderful comment (and follow) about my students and their work...that means very much coming from you!
    I loved learning about Sorolla, his paintings are beautiful, everyone looks so relaxed and at ease. His quote about the color 'violet' was inspiring...as was this post!
    xo J~

  18. Hi Helen, thankyou so much for your encouraging comments. I would like to grow some Artichoke as I think they are so fabulous to look at. A whole field of them, I can only imagine how amazing that must have looked! Have a wonderful Wednesday, love Linda x

  19. I like that distinction between sunlight and the truth of it, and how its truth can be depicted more readily than itself. I guess there's always the filter of individual perception, which alters reality but yields a truth in itself. The introduction to Sorolla (new to me) has been most enjoyable.

  20. 24 Corners Goodmorning

    Yes, indeed, perhaps we rubbed shoulders at the food market by the Rialto Bridge in Venice. Had we met, how much fun it would have been to sit by a canal with your students and enjoy a gelato.
    Ciao Bella

  21. Flowers on my Table

    Hello Linda
    I can see you back in your studio painting artichokes in bloom and lavender - Sorolla was right when he said the colour purple was one of the greatest discoveries.
    To creativity

  22. A Mise

    Your summation "

    I guess there's always the filter of individual perception, which alters reality but yields a truth in itself.

    so beautifully describes impressionism.

    Thanks for visiting

  23. Dear Helen,

    I enjoyed seeing more paintings by Sorolla. I will keep an eye out for an exhibition of his work in Holland or Belgium. I would love to visit!

    Good luck with the painting and thank you for always leaving such sweet comments!

    Happy day!

    Madelief x

  24. Hello Madelief

    I hope Sorolla's exhibition travels to Holland and Belgium or perhaps one day you will visit Madrid.

    To friendship

  25. Hi Helen, thank you for leaving a sweet comment on my blog today! Thanks for introducing a wonderful artist to me. His work is really beautiful and the colors he used are so vibrant.


  26. Glad to know that I'll get a decent cuppa at your place! I would love to take Jane and Lance up on their offer. Thankyou for visiting Helen, have a wonderful day, love Linda x

  27. Hi Jesssies @ Mix and Chic

    I am pleased to read you approve of Joaquin Sorolla's art. If ever you get to Madrid, stop by his home.
    To a great day
    Helen xx

  28. Hell Linda at Flowers on my table

    I would be my please to have you over for a cappucino - we would have so much to talk about
    Helen xx

  29. These are really nice potraits, thanks for sharing.

  30. Who knows what the future holds Helen, but I would love us to meet. Here's to creativity and friendship! Love Linda x

  31. Hello Toyin O
    Thank you kindly for stopping in to visit. Your comments are truly appreciated = many thanks

  32. Hi Linda - Flowers on my table

    We shall hold that thought and I raise my glass in friendship

    Helen xx0

  33. Lovely post!! Thanks for posting the photos of some of Sorolla's paintings. "Mending the Sail" is my favourite of the group. Sunlight seems to pour out of his paintings. I hope you will have a chance to visit Madrid again soon.

  34. What a wonderful post! I'm enjoying your blog....and learning more about art! ♥

  35. Hi Louise
    Lovely to hear from you and I hope you get to Madrid soon.
    Mending the Sail is a spectacular painting, I believe this jpeg does it an injustice.

    My best

  36. Hello Lavender Dreamer

    Thanks for visiting and for your kind words. I will look forward to future discussions with you
    Helen x

  37. mending the sail is such a gorgeous painting

    i believe it captures the effect of real sunlight in a brilliant manner

  38. Hello Paul

    I agree Paul, that Mending the Sail captures the light that Sorolla so well knew and understood. Thank you for visiting and taking time to comment