Important Sorolla Portrait at 19th Century Art Sale in London

A portrait of the Marquesa de Torneros by the Spanish master Joaquin Sorolla, is one of the highlights of Bonhams 19th Century European, Victorian and British Impressionist Art sale in London on Thursday 26 September. It is estimated at £180,000-250,000.

Sorolla (1863-1923) was in demand as a portrait painter from early in his career, but commissions greatly increased following the critical success of works he submitted to the National Fine Art exhibition in Madrid in 1904. His first London exhibition in 1908 featured a significant section of portraiture, including The Portrait of María Luisa Maldonado y Salabert, Marquesa de Torneros to be offered at Bonhams.

The work was commissioned by the Marquesa's father, the Count of Villagonzalo a major art collector and a friend of the artist. It was painted in 1907, in part at Sorolla's studio in Madrid. The background, however, depicts the landscape round the El Pardo estate in the Sierra de Guadarrama, where the artist was living with his family while his daughter Maria recovered from tuberculosis. The Count had specified that the Marquesa be painted against a landscape in the manner of English portraits.

Bonhams head of 19th Century European, Victorian and British Impressionist Art Charles O'Brien said: 'Portraiture formed an important part of Sorolla's output throughout his career providing a dependable source of income and the opportunity to experiment with different styles and techniques. His portrait of the Marquesa of Tornerros was widely admired by her social circle in Madrid – as the painter wrote to his wife, "They are all crazy with the picture of the Countess."

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