Masterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art
Joaquin Sorolla worked in a variety of genres---landscapes, historical scenes, portraiture---but is perhaps best known for his charming renditions of children playing on the beach. Along with twelve other canvases, Sorolla painted The Young Amphibians on a beach in Valencia during the summer of 1903. Unlike his compatriot Picasso, who was then working in the mournful style of his Blue Period, Sorolla infused his pleasant paintings with glistening reflective light, as seen here in the gentle rolling waves of the Mediterranean Sea and the two nude children playing at the water's edge. The Young Amphibians was acquired by the Philadelphia Museum of Art just a year after its making, in 1904, and represents the early but increasing interest of American museums in acquiring the Valencian artist's work (the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, would add the artist's 1906 Senora de Sorolla in Black to their collection five years later). In 1909 the American public itself communicated its excitement for Sorolla during his one-man exhibition at New York's Hispanic Society of America: the one month showing of 350 works drew approximately 160,000 people, still a commendable number today. Melissa Kerr, from Masterpieces from the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Impressionism and Modern Art (2007), p. 104.