Lot 14
  • 14

Joaquín Sorolla

800,000 - 1,200,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Niños bañandose entre rocas, Jávea (Children on the Shore, Jávea)
  • signed and dated J. Sorolla Bastida 1905 lower left
  • oil on canvas
  • 33.5 by 63cm., 13 by 24¾in.


Private collection (probably acquired at the Geroges Petit exhibition in Paris in 1906)
Schweitzer Gallery, New York (by 1989)
Purchased by the present owner in 2004


Probably, Paris, Galerie Georges Petit, Exposition Sorolla y Bastida, 1906
La Coruña, Museo de Bellas Artes, Preciosismo y simbolismo, 2000
Madrid, Fundación MAPFRE, A la Playa, el mar como tema de la modernidad en pintura española, 1870 - 1936, 2000-01, n. n., illustrated in the catalogue 
Valencia, La Casa del Reloj, El Esplendor de la Pintura Valenciana, 2001, no. 53
Barcelona, Espacio para el Arte, La luz del Mediterráneo, 2002-03


El Punto de las Artes, 10-16 November 2000, illustrated on the cover
ANTIQUARIA Revista de Arte
, December, 2000
Tiempo, 4 December 2000, p. 96, illustrated
El Mundo
, 17 December 2000, p. 42, illustrated
Blanca Pons-Sorolla, Joaquín Sorolla. Vida y Obra, Madrid, 2001, p. 229, no. 122 illustrated; p. 233, cited; p. 731, catalogued
'Preciosismo y Simbolismo', Xunta de Galicia, 2001, p. 102
Teresa Camps, Del Naturalismo al Noucentismo, Barcelona, Caja Madrid, 2002-03, p. 3, illustrated 


The following condition report has been prepared by Hamish Dewar Ltd., 13 and 14 Mason's Yard, St James', London, SW1Y 6BU: UNCONDITIONAL AND WITHOUT PREJUDICE Structural Condition The canvas is lined and is securely attached to a keyed wooden stretcher. This is ensuring an even and stable structural support. There is brown paper gum tape covering the tacking edges. Paint Surface The paint surface has an even varnish layer. There are scattered fine lines of craquelure, including within the central girl's clothing and at the extreme edges of the composition. These all appear stable and are not visually distracting. Inspection under ultra-violet light shows very small retouchings in the extreme corners of the composition, and a few further intermittent retouchings on the framing edges, including on the centre of the left edge. Summary The painting would therefore appear to be in very good and stable condition.
"This lot is offered for sale subject to Sotheby's Conditions of Business, which are available on request and printed in Sotheby's sale catalogues. The independent reports contained in this document are provided for prospective bidders' information only and without warranty by Sotheby's or the Seller."

Catalogue Note

This intimate scene combines one of Sorolla's most jewel-like renditions of the sea and cliffs of Cabo de San Antonio, Jávea, with a portrayal of a personal family moment. Depicting, from left to right, his three children, Joaquín, Elena, and María (then aged respectively 12, 10 and 15) clambering among the rocks, their graceful movements contrast with the aquamarine and turquoise of the inviting water and the rugged faces of the rocky stacks. The canvas is a celebration of all that Sorolla held most dear in his life: the beauty of the Mediterranean coastline and his close-knit family. The sense of complete immersion in the scene is accentuated by the high viewpoint looking down, cutting out the wider bay and the horizon to focus on the fleeting moment. 

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.