People walking around the Eixample district of Barcelona are often stunned by the magnificent buildings and their fine decorative pieces. However, most of these can only be admired from the outside. If you’re interested in seeing some superb examples of the furniture, paintings, and decoration that filled these beautiful buildings, don’t miss the Museum of Catalan Modernism.
Located in the heart of Barcelona’s Eixample, the Museum of Catalan Modernism occupies the ground floor and basement of a building by one of Barcelona’s most prolific architects, Enric Sagnier. Sagnier built many of Barcelona’s public buildings, including the old Law Courts on Passeig Lluis Companys, the Customs House at the bottom of the Rambla, just across the road from the Gothic Shipyards and the church by Tibidabo funfair. If you’ve seen Woody Allen’s film, Vicky Cristina Barcelona, you’ve
seen one of his many family dwellings, this particular one being built for Manuel Doncel and featuring Plateresque ornamentation.
Back to the Museum.
There is a collection of beautiful furniture and marquetry work by some of the period’s best cabinetmakers and designers: cabinets, sideboards and other pieces by Joan Busquets, chairs, office furniture and other pieces by Gaudí; religious and decorative marquetry by Gaspar Homar.
Eusebi Arnau was a leading sculptor when the Eixample was being built and his superb decorative vase made for the entrance hall of the Garriga I Nogués building (Diputació 250, also by Sagnier) is on display. There are also pieces in terracotta and marble by Enric Clarasó a member of the Quatre Gats and friend of Ramon Casas and Santiago Rusiñol.
There is a large selection of characteristically modernist polychrome terracotta busts by Lambert Escaler.
Josep Llimona, one of modernism’s greatest exponents is also well represented. With Gaudí he founded the Cercle Artistic de Sant Lluc (which is still active) to defend an ideal image of art and preserve a spirit of Christian commitment.
Finally, there are several charming stained glass screens and windows, the one called “Life” by Joaquim Mir is stunning in its vitality. So is the screen and doorway at the entrance.
Modernist painters are of course present, the languid ladies of Gaspar Camps, the elegant Parisian ladies of Joan Cardona, Ramon Casas’ studies of Barcelona characters, the military themes of ex-soldier Josep Cusachs and many more.
C/ Balmes, 48 08007 Barcelona
Google map: bit.ly/HSvVc4
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