Sorolla was first attracted to the Jávea landscape, south of Valencia, in 1896. Captivated by the beauty of the craggy shoreline and the azure waters, he was drawn particularly to a small isolated beach below the Cape of San Antonio. Painted on his subsequent return to the cape with his young family in 1905, Children on the Shore, Jávea belongs to a series of views, with and without figures, that he painted there that year. The present work, showing all three of his children, would have held a particularly personal meaning, and is one of Sorolla's purest expressions of the happiness he felt, surrounded by the central pillar of his life - his family - in a magical location. Sorolla's veneration of his wife and children is a theme that pervades his work, brought about in part by having been orphaned himself while still an infant.
The universality of the image in Children on the Shore, Jávea should be seen in the context of broader aesthetic interests pervading contemporary art of the time. Sorolla was already familiar with the work of the Danish painter Peder Severin Krøyer (lot 11), the influential voice within the community of artists working at Skagen in Denmark. Sorolla had seen at first hand in the Exposition Universelle in Paris in 1900 Krøyer's Summer Evening on Skagen Beach, a painting that expresses many of the themes dear to Sorolla. Likewise, the critical elements to be found in Sorolla's work were also shared by Claude Monet, an artist who found great significance in, and inspiration from, particular places, including the dramatic coast at Belle-Île and Etretat.
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