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Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida was born in 1863 in Valencia, Spain to a poor family of a tradesman, was orphaned at age two and raised by his aunt and uncle. His art education began at the age of 9 in his native town and in 1878, Sorolla enrolled in the Academy of San Carlos in Valencia.
In 1881, Joaquín Sorolla traveled to Madrid to stidy master paintings in the Museo del Prado. And in 1885, he went for four years to study painting in Rome, Italy. He also travelled to Paris where he was influenced by modern painting.
In 1888, Sorolla returned to Valencia were painted large artworks of orientalist, mythological, historical, and social subjects, for display in salons and international exhibitions in Madrid, Paris, Venice, Munich, Berlin, and Chicago. At the beginning of his art career, Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida painted historical and social realist works as well as genre paintings and landscapes. His painting style was impressionistic, with bold and impastoed brushstrokes.
In 1892, Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida achieved his first success, winning the gold medal at the National Exhibition in Madrid. In 1893, he was also awarded first prize at the Chicago International Exhibition. In 1909, Sorolla had a solo exhibition at the Hispanic Society in New York City at which time he won a commission to paint President William Howard Taft. In 1911, the Hispanic Society offered him another commission to paint panels for its library.
Upon returning to Spain, Sorolla painted in the open air, depicting local life of the Valencian seacoast.
"The great difficulty with large canvases is that they should by right be painted as fast as a sketch. By speed only can you gain an appearance of fleeting effect. But to paint a three yard canvas with the same dispatch as one of ten inches is well-nigh impossible."
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