Sketch for Provinces of Spain: Castilla. Gouache on paper, 1912-1913
A Masterpiece in the Making: Joaquín Sorolla’s Gouaches for the Vision of Spain Opens as a Collaborative Exhibition at the National Arts Club
The National Arts Club and Hispanic Society Museum & Library partner to present Sorolla’s rarely-seen gouaches from the museum’s permanent collection
Free and open to the public from January 17 – April 26, 2023
The National Arts Club (NAC) and Hispanic Society Museum & Library (HSM&L) present A Masterpiece in the Making: Joaquín Sorolla’s Gouaches for the Vision of Spain, a collaborative exhibition on view at the National Arts Club from January 17 through April 26, 2023.
“We relish this opportunity to partner with the Hispanic Society, bringing our two historic institutions together for the first time,” said Ben Hartley, Executive Director of the NAC. “Through collaboration, arts organizations like ours can find new ways to highlight great artists and their works.”
The exhibition, which opens during Master Drawings Week, commemorates the Valencian master Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida—the preeminent artist in Spain at the turn of the 20th century—on the occasion of his centennial year. On view are Sorolla’s rarely-seen preparatory sketches for the paintings in the HSM&L’s Sorolla Gallery, Vision of Spain. The Sorolla Gallery houses 14 monumental paintings dedicated to Spain, where the viewer is surrounded by the peoples, costumes and traditions of various regions in the country. The Gallery is considered one of New York City’s gems and a “required visit”, if not a pilgrimage voyage.
“We’re thrilled to partner with the National Arts Club on this very timely exhibition, opening upon the heels of the Hispanic Society Museum & Library’s reopening of the Sorolla Gallery,” says Guillaume Kientz, Director and CEO of HSM&L. “We couldn’t think of a more fitting partner to help bring this exhibition to life and look forward to continuing this collaboration in the future.”
This is the first time the works are being exhibited in the U.S.
A Masterpiece in the Making is free and open to the public daily from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. The NAC is located in the historic landmarked Samuel Tilden Mansion at 15 Gramercy Park South, New York, NY. Additional exhibition details can be found at nationalartsclub.org/exhibitions.
A schedule of special events coinciding with the exhibition will be announced at a later date.
ABOUT THE ARTIST
Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (Valencia, 1863-Cercedilla, Madrid, 1923) was the best-known Spanish artist at the turn of the 20th century. Orphaned at the age of two, he was raised by an aunt and her locksmith husband. His talent was recognized at an early age, and he found support for artistic studies, which eventually took him to the Spanish Academy in Rome and to Paris.
Sorolla also found a mentor in the Valencian photographer, Antonio García, whose daughter, Clotilde García del Castillo, Sorolla would marry in 1888. By 1900, when he won the Grand Prix and a medal of honor at the Exhibition Universelle in Paris, he had already mounted a series of exhibitions internationally that would come to include Madrid, Paris, London, Munich, Berlin, Chicago, New York, Boston, Buffalo, and Saint Louis, among others. His painting, Another Marguerite, 1892, awarded first prize at Chicago in 1893, was his first picture to enter an American collection.
The artist came to the attention of Archer Milton Huntington, founder of The Hispanic Society of America, at the 1908 exhibition In London. Huntington offered Sorolla an exhibition at the Society in February 1909 that became one of the first “blockbusters” in New York museums, attracting 168,000 visitors in four weeks, with similar success in Boston and Buffalo, and an invitation to portray President William Howard Taft.
A second exhibition in 1911 visited Chicago and Saint Louis, and in that year, Huntington commissioned the large-scale murals—one of the most important decorated interior spaces in New York City—variously called The Provinces (or Regions) of Spain and An Artist’s Vision of Spain (Visión de España), painted between 1912 and 1919. The pictures, and the 58 large-scale preparatory gouache studies Sorolla made for them, only came to New York in 1923, after the death of the artist.
Huntington also acquired numerous oil paintings, oil sketches, and drawings; with subsequent acquisitions. Today, the collection numbers 268 works.
ABOUT THE NATIONAL ARTS CLUB
Founded in 1898, The National Arts Club is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit with a mission to stimulate, foster, and promote public interest in the arts and to educate the American people in the fine arts. Annually, the Club offers more than 150 free programs—both in-person and virtually—to the public, including exhibitions, theatrical and musical performances, lectures and readings, attracting an audience of over 30,000 in-person visitors and thousands more online. Feature programs focus on all disciplines of the arts.
Since 2019, the Club has been undergoing a renaissance. New initiatives—such as an artist fellowship, an outdoor concert series, and online programming—have attracted new audiences. At the NAC’s landmark clubhouse, the former Samuel Tilden Mansion, efforts have been made to reimagine, renovate, and preserve the building’s galleries and historic spaces.
The NAC is also a proud community partner, providing therapeutic art instruction to children in the care of the Administration of Children’s Services, regularly convening New York City art leaders to share ideas and collaborate, presenting a popular series of concerts in collaboration with the National Jazz Museum in Harlem, and more.
For a full list of events or to learn more, please visit nationalartsclub.org.
ABOUT THE HISPANIC SOCIETY MUSEUM & LIBRARY
The Hispanic Society Museum & Library (HSM&L) is the primary institution and reference library dedicated solely to the preservation, study, understanding, exhibition and enjoyment of art and cultures of Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking countries and communities. Located in Upper Manhattan in the dynamic Washington Heights neighborhood, the institution has, since its inception, remained free of charge, providing unrivaled access to the most extensive collection of Hispanic art and literature outside of Spain and Latin America.
The HSM&L’s permanent collection is unparalleled in its scope and quality, with half a million items that address nearly every aspect of cultures in Spain, Portugal and Latin America from antiquity to present day. HSM&L is unmatched in the multi-disciplinarity and broad historical and geographical extension of its art collection and library, highlighting Hispanic art and cultures’ incredible breadth as seen through its diverse religious, cultural and geographical influences. The collection includes masterworks by El Greco, Velázquez, Rodríguez Juárez, Goya, Campeche, Arrieta, Sorolla, Orozco and Tàpies; sculptures by Pedro de Mena, Luisa Roldán and Caspicara and masterpieces in all areas of the decorative arts. The collections of the Department of Manuscripts and Rare Books are among the most extensive outside Spain and the Library is available as a preeminent center for research on the history, art, and cultures of the Hispanic world. It is open to the public by appointment.
Founded in 1904 by American scholar, philanthropist and collector Archer M. Huntington, the HSM&L was established on the premise of a passion and curiosity for Hispanic and Latin American art, cultures and history. While the HSM&L is one of the most historic cultural institutions in New York City, the organization has continued to adapt and serve the local community and growing Hispanic and Latino populations in the United States at large, opening its doors to inspire, enrich and educate the public.
Under the stewardship of CEO and Director Guillaume Kientz and in the spirit of inclusivity, HSM&L makes a fervent commitment to give voice to and provide space for Portuguese- and Spanish-speaking communities and cultures. Through special exhibitions, a permanent collection, loans, education, support of living artists, public programming and research, HSM&L continues to reimagine the potential for a museum and its ability to incite greater change.
To learn more, please visit hispanicsociety.org.