II. Around 1895: the first international successes
Return from Fishing was Sorolla’s first major international success. Shown at the 1895 Paris Salon, it marked his debut on the European stage and consolidated his reputation in Spain. Sorolla’s stay in the French capital also infl uenced his work in canvases such as After the Bath, which shows a shift in taste towards the academic style that dominated the Parisian market. Sewing the Sail confirmed his previous success. The pictorial representation of the effects of sunlight that characterize these two major works increasingly drew the artist’s attention, becoming the true hallmark of his art. This quest to portray sunlight, using the sails of fi shing boats as his best resource, led to Eating on the Boat, a painting in which the sail also enabled the artist to enclose the space where the action unfolds.
These same years saw the rise in Sorolla’s international reputation echoed by a greater interest on the part of private clients to buy his work. To meet this demand, he increasingly painted popular genre subjects and began a successful career as a portrait painter.