Pere Caselles i Tarrats, the modernist jewel of Reus

Pere Caselles i Tarrats was a very important modernist architect for Reus. Most of the city’s modernist buildings are his work, although curiously not all bear his signature.

Beginnings

Pere Caselles i Tarrats was born on 1 November 1864 in Reus. During his youth, he studied in Barcelona and obtained the title of architect at the age of 25, in 1889. The following year, he was already the municipal architect of Terol and a year later, of Reus, a position he held for almost all his life. During this stage he became Domènech i Montaner’s assistant and discovered architectural modernism first-hand with his collaboration in the works of the Pere Mata Institute.

Pere Mata Institute

Authorship controversy

Most of the modernist buildings in Reus are attributed to Caselles, although not all are signed by him. As a municipal architect, he was not allowed to receive private commissions, since he was considered incompatible. Many of his plans were signed by his friend Pau Monguió, the architect from Tarragona of his promotion. Some Monguió’s works in Tortosa were also signed by Pere Caselles, for the same reason, since the former was the town’s municipal architect. The plans given to the owners that are still preserved do not coincide in terms of signatures with those of the building permit files, which is why it is difficult to ensure that some buildings were designed by him.

 

Casa Munné/Abelló, Estació Enològica, Casa Sagarra

 

Final

Pere Caselles i Tarrats was murdered at the beginning of the civil war, on 28 July 1936. His file was destroyed during the raid on his office, the same day he died from a gunshot wound. Pau Monguió‘s archive was also destroyed by a bomb, so studying his relationship and the authorship of his works is a difficult task.

 

Do you know of any other examples of modernist authors with controversial authorship? If you found it interesting, we recommend you to discover Francesc Berenguer, the shadow of Gaudí.