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Two Sisters, Valencia

A work made of oil on canvas.

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  • A work made of oil on canvas.




Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (Spanish, 1863-1923)

About this artwork

A windblown girl looks out toward the viewer, shielding her eyes from the blinding sun with one hand while holding on to her younger sister with the other. Spanish artist Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida was enchanted with the effects of light, absorbed and reflected here in the dramatic gradient of the blue water melding into wet sand. The broad and loose brushstrokes give the work a sketch-like appearance that suits the fleeting moment.

These techniques, along with his direct observation from nature, aligned Sorolla firmly with the Impressionists, with whom he exhibited in Paris. Working 30 years earlier, French Impressionist Pierre-August Renoir painted a similar theme in his Two Sisters (On the Terrace). In contrast to Renoir’s carefully posed models, Sorolla drew his inspiration from the spontaneity of real life: his sisters appear caught in a moment of play, their positions and gestures active and awkward.

Sorolla’s candid depictions of intimate, familial relationships earned him international success, particularly among American audiences, who experienced his works for the first time at an exhibition at the Hispanic Society in New York in 1909. While on vacation with his family in Valencia, Spain, that summer, Sorolla began creating works for a second American presentation, a process he believed would take five years but instead took only 18 months. Two Sisters was one of 30 works he produced during that fertile period along the Spanish coast and was among the 188 pieces featured in the artist’s second US exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1911.

The four-week-long show was a massive success, with around 40 of the works selling by the exhibition’s close, including Two Sisters, Valencia . Mrs. Elizabeth H. North purchased the painting and immediately donated it to the Art Institute in memory of her husband, William Stanley North.


Currently Off View


Painting and Sculpture of Europe


Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida


Two Sisters, Valencia


Spain (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil on canvas


Inscribed lower right: J. Sorolla 1909


176.2 × 112.1 cm (69 3/8 × 44 1/8 in.); Framed: 2470.2 × 149.9 × 10.2 cm (972 1/2 × 59 × 4 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. William Stanley North in memory of William Stanley North

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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