Puerto de Jávea
signed and dated 'J. Sorolla B./1905' (lower right)
oil on canvas on board
718 x 8 in. (18.1 x 20.3 cm.)
The artist.
Alice Seymour Hooker Day Jackson (1872-1926), New York, acquired in 1909 at the New York exhibition.
Private collection, Massachusetts.
Acquired directly from the above by the present owner.
A. de Beruete, et. al., Eight Essays on Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida, vol. II, New York, 1909, p. 211, no. 269, illustrated.
B. Pons-Sorolla, Sorolla y Estados Unidos, exh. cat., Madrid, 2013, p. 355, illustrated.
B. Pons-Sorolla, Sorolla and America, exh. cat., Dallas and San Diego, 2014, p. 309, no. 132, illustrated.
(possibly) London, The Grafton Galleries, Exhibition of paintings by Señor Sorolla y Bastida, May-July 1908.
New York, The Hispanic Society of America, Exhibition of Paintings by Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida, 8 February-8 March 1909, no. 269.
Buffalo, The Buffalo Fine Arts Academy, Exhibition of Paintings by Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida, 10 March-10 April 1909, also Boston, Copley Society, 20 April-11 May 1909, no. 146.
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Lot Essay

During every phase of his career, Sorolla produced numerous small oil paintings. The artist referred to these small works as apuntes (notes), but also called them manchas (splashes of paint) or notas de color (color notes). These apuntes represent subjects with which Sorolla felt most comfortable – everyday scenes with his family, landscapes, or the colors of the waves at sea – and he made them largely for the sheer pleasure of painting. While the size of the paintings an artist produced was considered important both for one’s artistic reputation and financial return during Sorolla’s lifetime, when Sorolla exhibited these small apuntes alongside his more conventional work, his contemporaries understood that these sketches revealed the artist’s soul and the secret to his bravado. These apuntes show how Sorolla looked at the world, how he understood the changing nature of light and color, and how he could express a fully-realized scene with just a few of his fluid brushstrokes and his inherent ability to layer tones. As María López Fernádez described them, ‘Every color note was a little talisman that magically encapsulated the painter’s talent.’
By 1905 when Puerto de Jávea was painted, Sorolla was at the height of his artistic talents. He wrote to Rodolfo Gil this same year saying, ‘Now my hands completely obey my eyes and my feelings.’ Sorolla had visited Jávea with his family for the summer months specifically to paint the Mediterranean Sea with its intense color and the long coastline which was so different from that of his native València, and he ultimately painted 73 pictures during this stay. Sorolla had first fallen in love with the small Alicante village on a trip in 1896. On that occasion Sorolla had travelled alone and the letters to his wife Clotilde express the emotion that the beauty of the place impressed upon him and his desire to share it with her: ‘Jávea is sublime, immense, the best place for a painter...I will be here a few days. If you will be here with me, then two months’ and ‘this is a place that I have always dreamed of, sea and mountain, and what a sea!...the Cabo de San Antonio is another marvel; a monument of enormous, red color, and the color of the clear waters and the brilliant, pure green, a colossal emerald.’
The visit to Jávea was the impetus for the intensity of Sorolla's palette reaching new heights. The critic Rafael Domenech referred to this moment in the artist's work when he wrote in 1910, ‘The chromatic boldness did not exist before Sorolla did these’ and Bernardino de Pantorba commented, ‘Sorolla, without increasing the colors in his palette, as with all the few true colorists, extended and multiplied the number of nuances, and thus the number of the bold contrasts, and profited by the harmonies of the blues, yellows, violets, cadmiums, greens and reds, without losing the rich modulations of white, the color which he used most notably.’ Certainly, the extraordinary color harmony the artist was able to capture in the water in the present work is representative of this shift in his understanding of color as well. The intermingled cobalt, teal, and azure of the water is brilliantly contrasted against both the vibrant warm hued rocks in the foreground and the pinkish tones of the steamer ships’ hulls and the distant Cabo de San Antonio, capturing the vibrance and depth of the composition with an astonishing economy of brushwork. The present work was exhibited by Sorolla in his 1909 exhibition at The Hispanic Society of America in New York, where it was bought by Alice Seymour Hooker Day Jackson, a grandniece of the antislavery novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe and granddaughter of the suffragist Isabella Beecher Hooker.
We are grateful to Blanca Pons-Sorolla for confirming the authenticity of this work, which is registered as no. BPS 3627 in the third volume of her forthcoming Joaquín Sorolla catalogue raisonné.

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