Sale: Parke-Bernet, New York, 12 May 1965, lot 45A
Wildenstein & Co., New York
Purchased by the present owner from the above in 1976
The present work is one of a series of full scale preparatory oils that Sorolla painted whilst working on the vast canvas El Baile, Sevilla.
A celebration of Sevillian dancers in a courtyard with a fountain in the lower left corner of the composition, Sorolla's monumental canvas was painted as part of the huge decorative panorama that he completed for Archer M. Huntington's Hispanic Society of America, New York. To prepare for the task of painting the Sevillian scene Sorolla explored the subject of the fountain by painting patios in the vicinity of Seville and Jerez; six of these are recorded, the present work being one of them.
Sorolla had been commissioned by Huntington in 1911 to produce an extensive decoration for a yet to be constructed salon in the Hispanic Society of America; the project consumed Sorolla until its completion in 1919. Consisting of canvas murals some 12 to 14 feet high and extending to a total length of 227 feet, the panoply celebrates the cultural and regional life of Spain and Portugal. In order to complete the task Sorolla travelled widely, visiting each area to paint the local people and architecture: Aragon, Castile, Catalonia, Elche, Extremadura, Galicia, Guipuzcoa, Navarre, and Valencia as well as Seville and Andalusia.
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