Joaquín Sorolla, Sad Inheritance, Oil on canvas, 212 x 288 cm. 1899

Sad Inheritance established Sorolla’s reputation in Paris and secured his status on the international scene. The impact of this work, which earned him the Grand Prix at the 1900 World Fair, made him the most successful living Spanish painter, confi rming critical interest in his art—an art that explored nature with sincerity and had the seashore as the privileged setting for his paintings. From then on, we see a change in the execution of his work. In canvases such as Mending the Sails, the brushstrokes became freer and more energetic, in search of a more direct portrayal of the depicted moment and a more faithful rendition of the effect of light. Preparing Raisins shows a progression towards a much more daring modernity, in which contemporary social themes are subordinated to the pure expression of an image.

Mother, on the other hand, marked the appearance in his oeuvre of distinctly intimate images, linked to the most private aspects of Sorolla’s life. These became a regular feature of his work, and following their success, the artist continued to pursue them until the end of his career.

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