Exemplary Works by Spain's Foremost Artists in Sotheby's 19th Century European Paintings Sale

Ignacio Zuloaga, 'Azorín', 120 by 180cm. Est: GBP 200 000—300 000

Sotheby’s 19th Century European Paintings sale on Wednesday, June 3, 2009, features a choice group of 15 works by some of the most representative Spanish artists of the time: Hermenegildo Anglada-Camarasa, Santiago Rusiñol, José Maria Sert, Joaquín Sorolla and Ignacio Zuloaga. The Bathing Hour, a striking canvas by Joaquín Sorolla (1863-1923) is the highlight of this section as it has never before been seen in public and has always remained in private collections. The Bathing Hour will be exhibited for the first time ever at Sotheby’s Madrid on May 25-26 to coincide with the inauguration at the Prado Museum of the most important retrospective on the life and work of this internationally renowned artist.

Painted in 1915 but signed and dated in 1917, The Bathing Hour is one of a select number of oils that Sorolla executed on La Malvarrosa beach at Valencia that year. Sorolla’s time in his home town in the summer of 1915 provided a welcome respite from the major project that had been occupying the majority of his time since 1911, namely the commission from Archer M. Huntington to paint a series of monumental canvases on the theme of the Vision of Spain for the Hispanic Society of America, New York. This massive series of canvases celebrating Spanish regional life necessitated that Sorolla travel extensively throughout Spain to paint the local peoples and record their customs. Returning in the summers to the city in which he had grown up and where he could relax with his family by the sea offered him a much needed break from Huntington’s mammoth task as well as the opportunity to turn his attention to more liberating subjects.