Popular airs by M. Blay
El Greco by Reynés
In Catalonia, the sculpture was an art well consolidated since
the middle age, and consequently a lot of centuries before the
Modernisme (Art Nouveau). Effectively beginning already in the century XIII with figures as Bartomeu, Aloi
de Montbrai or Guillem de Sagrera, passing through Damià Forment, the
Catalan sculpture had in the XIX century lots of artists developing there art with a notable technical perfection and in
some cases with genius. We refer, for example, to figures as Salvador Gurri and Damià Campeny that are the base of what later will generate the
expansion of the important academicism "realistic"
school with sculptors as the brothers
Agapit and Venanci
Vallmitjana, Fuxà or
Reynés that at the same time will evolve toward and live together with the
Modernism (Art Nouveau).
Nouveau was a brilliant liberation of shapes. In front of previous rule
- the academicism -, Art Nouveau means freedom, the possibility to develop
any shape, any color, any idea. The
sculpture was not an
exception. The expression of figures showed the life in all
its varieties in front of cold academicism representations.
Catalan Art Nouveau
followed also the same criteria and filled the houses, the streets, the
squares, the theatres, the hospitals, the churches with that new concepts.
That concepts had been manifested, as it is common in sculpture, in two different orientations:
- One as an architectural decorative art being part of buildings.
- Another expression with an independent personality, free of architectural
Both manifestations had a magnificent expression in Catalan Art Nouveau,
and the artists had been developed normally both and frequently other
closed specialties like medals design.
The atelier of brothers Agapit and Venanci Vallmitjana was the origin of
Catalan Art Nouveau school of sculptors. There, Josep Llimona made
studies to improve his art knowledge's previously started in Llotja. Llimona
is one of better examples of Catalan Art Nouveau sculpture.
Eusebi Arnau is also a big sculptor developing his activity together
with architects, specially Domènech i Montaner,
his artworks made frequently with the help of Alfons Juyol, are present in Barcelona and
in all Catalonia.
Miquel Blay was also a collaborator of Domènech i Montaner, in
particular in the Palau de la Música Catalana
where in a façade angle his brilliant sculpture "Popular airs"
Pau Gargallo born in Maella (Aragó) near Catalonia in 1881, was the disciple of
Eusebi Arnau, working in his workshop. He had excellent relations
with artists frequenting the "Quatre gats", as Nonell,
Picasso and others. His contacts through Arnau with Domènech i Montaner
were the base of his collaboration in making the sculptures of buildings
as Palau de la Música Catalana and the Hospital de Sant
artworks was made not only in stone, but also in tick metal.
Nevertheless, Pau Gargallo is something different in Art Nouveau Catalan
sculpture, because at the end of his unfortunately short life, he
sculpts figures out of figurative standards making the
sculpture not a strict copy of reality.
Reynés is not properly an Art Nouveau sculptor as
explained up and not popular as Llimona, Arnau or Gargallo, but
some of his artworks are known because placed in popular areas as in
Monument to El Greco - and
Other artists as Carreres and Clarasó had also an important
participation in art development during the Art Nouveau period.