December 23, 2016
I found this museum fascinating because so many of the artists represented were completely unknown. Yes, there was one or two works by Juan Gris, Picasso and Miro, and there is a lot of Modernista furniture and poster design, including some Gaudis. But the bulk of the works were by artists unfamiliar to me, some of which were very interesting. In some ways, having this art presented, not a the best in the world but rather the best in a small nation was liberating for me as the viewer.
The museum is situated in the Palau National, a huge building created for the 1929 International Exhibition in Barcelona. This building is a pastiche of styles — It reminded me of the cupola from St. Pauls Cathedral, the bell tower in Venice, and the neoclassicism of the Capitol building in Washington DC.
The exhibit is grouped into dozens of styles and movements, such as surrealism, academic art, modernismo, impressionism to name a few. One thing I found interesting was that the art was not displayed on white walls — rather each room was a different color.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the Modernismo collection was the most stunning. It included furniture, doors and lamps by Gaudi and by his peers and his student.
One room that struck me had paintings by Pere Torné Esquius, who seemed to me a bit like a Catalan Van Gough.
Another room had abstract sculptures. I was particularly taken by those of Leandre Cristòfo.
I did not try to determine if thsee artists I had never heard of before were “second tier” or if I had never been exposed to them due to quirks of international art criticism or geopolitcs. I just enjoyed lookng at this art with a fresh eye. There was a lot to see here, and a lot to enjoy.
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