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This portrait of Maria Luisa Maldonado, Marquesa de Torneros by the Valencian artist Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida is on offer at Ansorena’s July 17-19 auction in Madrid estimated at €340,000.

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Thanks to letters from Sorolla to his wife, we know that the portrait was a direct commission from the sitter’s father, the Count of Villagonzalo, who had a keen interest in art.

He gave very precise instructions to the artist on how to paint the work, specifying that it must be very classical, be set in a landscape and reflect the style of Old Master portraits.

Achieving all these aims, the prtrait also demonstrates the loose, dynamic brushstrokes for which the artist was known.

It was a great success among the aristocratic women of the time, with Sorolla commenting to his wife: “They are all completely crazy for the painting.” The 6ft 7in x 4ft (2m x 1.2m) oil on canvas is estimated to fetch €340,000.

ansorena.com