The Trundler Finds Valencia in New York

September 1, 2015 City Breaks

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The Trundler often likes to visit the Museo de Bellas Artes, overlooking the Turia gardens in the city of Valencia to see the beautiful, atmospheric paintings by Joaquin Sorolla, the region’s most famous artist.

She loves them because they are so fresh and light, so luminous and bright. His most well-known works show small boys playing happily on the beach and sturdy oxen pulling in the fishing boats to the shore, just minutes from where The Trundler has made her cherished home.

The Bellas Artes has a spacious gallery devoted to Sorolla’s works, but some of the key paintings are conspicuously missing. The Trundler was delighted to track them down in New York City, another of her favourite places. She was moved to tears when she saw them in the Hispanic Society of America at 633, West 155th Street. This amazing free museum represents the rich culture of Spain and all the countries it has influenced. Despite the brutality of the Conquistadores, there is no doubt that the Spanish contributed enormously to the culture of South America. And in many parts of New York City, it is sometimes possible to forget you are in North America, as you hear Spanish spoken on every street corner and in every café.

Archer Milton Huntingdon has honoured this influence in the elegant neoclassical building of the Hispanic Society of America, which he founded in 1904, after visiting the Iberian Peninsula. It’s a magical place, which feels just like museums should. Intriguing, fascinating and mysterious as if there are many treasures to discover within its lofty halls. There is no gift shop selling Goya tea towels and table mats, no overpriced café, serving quinoa and cauliflower salad for £9 a tiny plate.

The lavish panorama of Sorolla’s scenes of Spanish life is overwhelming, moving and dazzling. The Trundler was mesmerised, filled with joy. And when the kindly guard gave her a present of a card showing the glorious painting of the oxen pulling the fishing boats, which is showed in the gallery in all its huge glory, she couldn’t believe her luck.