In front of us here we find a gentleman by the name of Antonio Garcia sat on a beautifully styled chair, staring out to sea. Antonio García Peris was actually the artist's father-in-law who was actually a photographer by trade and so was well acquainted with the world in which Joaquin lived and worked. Historians have discovered that Antonio actually had a strong influence on the direction taken by Joaquin Sorolla at various points in his career, and so this portrait has much more than just aesthetic value. The portrait itself is highly respectful and complementary, capturing the male figure in an elegant, smart white suit. Elements of the cane chair show through in parts, as does the lapping waves in the top part of the canvas which help to set the mood. The wall which comes into the scene from the left does not add much in terms of colour but seems to suggest that we are within a small beach hut, which Antonio would have had everything he needed available. The artist then carefully appends the scene with various personal items of the model, such as a straw boater hat and a walking stick which he holds across his waist.
A deeper study of this piece which became known as Antonio Garcia at the Beach reveals a heavy contrast in lighting across the sand, as the shade comes in from the foreground. The palette feels bright and modern, entirely typical of the artist once he had established his signature approach, and there are also some beautifully subtle touches of colour that can only be seen close up. Even the tones of white on the man's suit vary depending on where and how the light feel at the time. Several photographs exist of the preparation for this artwork, possibly taken by Antonio Garcia himself who was a professional photographer and may have spent some time out of the chair once the artist had set up the initial layout. It would have been hard for a man of his age to sit unmoved for hours on end, and Joaquin would not have asked his father-in-law to do so without regular breaks.
Antonio Garcia at the Beach can be found in the collection of the Museo Sorolla, or Sorolla Museum, which is based in Madrid and continues to offer the best representation of the artist anywhere in the world. It is considered to be one of the highest profile single-artist galleries in the world, though other notable entries for that title cover the careers of the likes of Frida Kahlo and Auguste Rodin. Most major galleries today will offer a broad range of movements in order to attract those just more curious about art history in a general way, but those with a particular interest in a specific name will always jump at the chance to visit venues that specialise in them. Alternatively, many of the key artists from the past few centuries will occasionally have exhibitions of their work which will also offer a rare opportunity to see so many artworks together under one roof at the same time.