Art Nouveau Barcelona

The Modernist architect

Beyond Gaudí

Born in Mataró in 1867 and with a solid political and social career he was one of the main architects of the late nineteenth century andearly twentieth century in Catalonia. Belonging to the second generation of modernist authors, he achieves a perfect synthesis between his three passions: architecture, politics and historical scholarship. Multifaceted, lover and promoter of catalan culture will represent the spirit of the Catalan renaissance, driven by a powerful bourgeoisie who will star in the golden age of art and culture.

As a modernist architect noted for his designs, partly marked by the Catalan feeling that defined and characterized by combining structural and architectural elements from the catalan tradition with others from north – central Europe. Contrary to academic schemes uniforms, as the Cerdà Plan or the various municipal ordinances that regularized the façades, Puig i Cadafalch intends to promote and recover the gothic architecture. Attracted by the Noucentisme, his style opts for a search for rationality and for the simplification of curved lines, despite this, he will give a key role to ornamentation, an example is some of his many works, among which, we can name the following: Casa Garí in Argentona, Casa Coll i Regás from Mataró, Casa Amatller in Paseo de Gracia, Casa Macaya in Paseo San Juan, La Casa Serra in Rambla Catalunya, Casa Marti -Els Quatre Gats- in Montsió street, Casa del Baró de Quadras on Diagonal avenue and, of course, la Casa de les Punxes located on the same street. But Puig i Cadafalch also designed industrial buildings, in which the sense of functionality and design are imposed, in this regard we highlight the Casarramona factory and Cavas Codorniu. He will develop his role as an architect until after the Spanish civil war conducting such activity will be prohibited, leaving him permission of only the restoration of historic buildings.

Josep Puig i Cadafalch

17.10.1867 / 23.12.1956 – One of the most important architects of the Catalan modernism style.
Portrait of Ramon Casas (MNAC)

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His political career of catalanist trend began in 1901 when he was appointed alderman of the Regionalist League of the municipality of Barcelona. In this position he promotes the formation of the Independent Board of Museums, to which he collaborates in the formation of museum city funds. In 1907 he is elected deputy of the Spanish Parliament in Madrid, and eventually be named president of the Mancomunitat of Catalonia between 1917 and 1923. During the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera decides to retire to France where he will continue his studies of history.

Architect and politician, Puig i Cadafalch was also developed as an archaeologist and art historian specialist, his deep knowledge led him to write works very highly valued as the Romanesque architecture in Catalonia (1909-1918), in collaboration with other personalities of the time. In exile, always linked to numerous universities that earned its subsequent recognition, will continue being formed in Romanesque art and architecture as well as teaching master classes of history. His passion for history and art, as well as his sensitivity to the preservation and restoration of historical and artistic goods often choked as an archaeologist. And it’s no wonder. Through the Board of Museums of Barcelona will promote a series of activities aimed at the preservation of historical heritage, such as conducting excavations of great significance at the site of Ampurias, or the collection and maintenance of Romanesque frescoes from the Pyrenees and other areas of Catalonia. Whilst in the Chairman position of the Institute of Catalan Studies, Puig i Cadafalch dies in 1956 after a prolific career.

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Josep Puig i Cadafalch

Puig i Cadafalch

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