Catalan Historical Review, No 1 (2008)

The Modernist Visual and Plastic Arts in the Catalan-speaking Lands

Francesc Fontbona i de Vallescar


Studies on Catalan Modernism got underway shortly before the Spanish Civil War but did not become widespread until about 1950, when the books Modernismo y modernistas by J.-F. Ràfols and El arte modernista catalán by A. Cirici Pellicer were published. Substantial biographies of Gaudí appeared from the start but some considerable time was to pass before in-depth studies of most of the key figures of Catalan Modernist Art were undertaken. In 1969 a major official exhibition was devoted to Modernism and in the 1970s there was an outburst of research into Modernism in fields including art and literature. In the 1980s major exhibitions on Modernism began to the staged in countries such as England, Japan and Sweden and were boosted by the presence of the names of Gaudí himself or the young Picasso, both of whom arose from the core of Modernism. Monographs with catalogues raisonnés have appeared on various Modernist painters: Anglada-Camarasa (1981), Santiago Rusiñol (1995) and Ramon Casas (1999), while new overall exhibitions have been dedicated to Catalan Modernism (1990) and Valencian Modernism (1997). Between 2002 and 2004, knowledge about Catalan Modernism and its background was condensed into five volumes comprising contributions from some eighty specialists.

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