Joaquín Sorolla is one of the leading Spanish artists of the early 20th century whose work is widely represented in the most prestigious museums and private collections around the world. Next to being a creative genius, he was a devoted father whose empathy towards children was reflected in an ability to capture their subtleties of expression and movement.
In Las tres hermanas en la playa Sorolla depicts three young sisters holding hands on the water's edge. The composition is intimately cropped, with no horizon line, and one girl skipping into the picture plane from the left, balancing the more static pose of her sisters who contemplate the eddies and waves at their feet. The wet sand has a profound sheen, evoked in blacks and purples, which contrasts with the lighter tones of the girls’ clothing and the agitated waters which fill most of the canvas. The scene is tenderly observed, but never lapses into the kind of sentimentalism which such a subject might provoke. Rather, Sorolla conveys a naturalism which reflects a deep understanding of the elements and of children, and the reaction of each to the other, resulting in a painting of extraordinary luminosity and feeling.