A quaint Giverny museum profiles the relatively unheard-of Spanish impressionist and Monet contemporary.
The Musée des Impressionnismes in Giverny has put on some compelling retrospectives over the past couple of years – Caillebotte (March 2016) and Degas (March 2015) immediately spring to mind – and this current Joaquin Sorolla show is no different. A contemporary of Monet, Renoir and Cézanne, the 19th-century Spanish painter first came to France in 1885 and saw a large amount of success in his lifetime, gaining praise from a wide public as well as his peers. Although he’s relatively unknown now, the 100 or so canvasses and sketches on show here are testament to why the artist was once so popular.
Sorolla was a master of light, expert at endowing his paintings with energy and movement – an impressionist par excellence. There’s a real vitality, for example, in his scene of fishermen returning from a day’s work in ‘Pêcheurs Valenciens’, and the same goes for the sailors’ wives in ‘Cousant la Voile’. His portraits, which at first don’t appear anything special, on closer inspection reveal a wealth of subtle details. In this way, we find ourselves going back and forth throughout the gallery, comparing the flamboyance of some scenes with the raw realism of others, hunting for details that may have tripped us up. It’s compelling viewing from start to finish.
TRANSLATION: FLORA HUDSON