visited the Brooklyn Museum in preparation for this
exhibition, staff members there directed them to
four more large drawings that time had forgotten.
Purchased from a San Francisco gallery in the 1920s,
they have not been seen since.
Stories of discoveries such as these abound.
Another work to look for is The Cypress of the Sultana,
which Sorolla painted in the Garden of the Alhambra.
It was purchased in 1909 and remained in the home
of the original collectors. Upon their deaths, one of
their descendants took it, because it reminded her of
her grandmother. She had no knowledge that it was by
Sorolla. She took it to Sotheby’s to have it appraised.
Sotheby’s contacted Pons-Sorolla to authenticate it and
the collector discovered the treasure in her possession.
Pons-Sorolla has spent the past 35 years tracking down
these works, as did her father before her. She is aided by
her great-grandmother’s impeccable recordkeeping,
which included details about the buyers, what
they paid for the works, and photographs of every
completed painting—a novelty at the time.
While Sorolla’s 1909 trip to the U.S. was pivotal,
it was not his last time to cross the Atlantic. Roglán
says, “His success was so enormous with the 1909
exhibition that he was invited to come back in 1911.”
Over the course of this visit, he pushed into the
heartland and showed over 300 works combined at
the St. Louis Art Museum and the Art Institute of
Chicago, where he conducted master classes, providing
instruction and inspiration to artists there. At the same
time he continued to paint and receive commissions.
This is doubly impressive, as Sorolla did not speak
English. The artist William E.B. Starkweather served
as his translator. However, the language barrier did
not dampen his American experiences. According
to Roglán, “Sorolla thought so highly of American
art and the American people. He was impressed with
how sophisticated and intelligent Americans were
compared to Europeans.” He also thought highly of
American artists, including his friends John Singer
Sargent and William Merritt Chase.
Sorolla painted approximately 4,000 works in his
lifetime, many of which are quite large. According to
This page, from top: Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (Spanish, 1863-
1923), Leonese Peasants, 1907, oil on canvas. On loan from The Hispanic Society of America, New York, NY. Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida
(Spanish, 1863-1923), After the Bath, 1908, oil on canvas. On loan
from The Hispanic Society of America, New York, NY