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The Artist.jpg

b. 1959

Born in Onda (Castellón) Spain from a long line of Spanish pottery craftsmen, José Antonio Sorolla Gallén picked up his first paintbrush at the tender age of eleven. Not having received a formal education in studio arts, Gallén gathered considerable technical skill and invaluable aesthetic knowledge via observation and hands-on work in the family studios, painting and glazing ceramics.


A self-described ‘sponge’, his fascination with painting grew, and by the age of twenty, he was assiduously studying books and manuals on oil painting. His first foray at the easel resulted in an Expressionist period, using various media such as straw, paper, and hessian leftover from paint cans. Improvisation was exciting to the new painter, and not knowing the final result left him exhilarated and especially eager to broaden all possibilities.


His painting stages were liberated without abrupt change and smoothly linked in transition, where one style gently emancipated itself from the former. Just when things got ‘easy’, or after a long time immersed in the same series, he would grow restless and seek new horizons to explore. He states; “I have always liked to drink from different fountains, as we say in Spanish”.


The shift to figurative painting seemed natural in evolution, as he has consistently desired to challenge himself methodologically and intellectually. His current influences are from the figurative periods of Gerhard Richter and Edward Hopper, likening the images to still frames from a movie screen.


In the midst of a contemporary photorealistic phase, Gallén is working simultaneously with nature and the human form. His subjects are found through his camera lens, painstakingly and theatrically positioned in the foreground of immense skies and seascapes. At other times, he catches his subjects quite candidly in natural poses, which strikes him as honest and endearing; the weary slouch of a shoulder, a lazily bent knee, faded denim awash in vivid sunlight, or a group of tourists gazing idly at a cloudy ocean panorama.


Exhibiting internationally and selling successfully since 1983, painting has been the only vocation and livelihood Gallén has known. This is a veritable testament to his inherent gift of relating viscerally and visually to art buyers across the span of three decades...a rare occurrence in today’s competitive art world.

Discover the artist's inspiration and working method in this intimate artist's portrait by José Antonio's daughter, Teresa Sorolla

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