Barcelona is well known as a center of contemporary art and architecture, but that prominence owes much to the creative outpouring it witnessed at the dawn of the twentieth century, when it was known as the "rose of fire." The physical city was transformed by the civil engineer Ildefonso Cerda and the architects Antoni Gaudi and Lluis Domenech. As Barcelona changed around them, modernist artists including Pablo Picasso, Isidre Nonell, and Ramon Casas produced work fueled by and focused on political and humanitarian concerns. Barcelona 1900 portrays the artistic, cultural, social, and political history of the city at this crucial turning point. Featuring more than 192 color and black-and-white illustrations-paintings, sculptures, drawings, and objects of applied art-the book illustrates the development of the modern city, Art Nouveau, and modernism alongside Barcelona's tumultuous social conflicts, the daily life of the middle classes, the anarchist movement, and the anticlerical sentiment of the day.
In a series of thematic chapters, Barcelona 1900 explores the city's artistic flowering in all its dimensions: paintings by Picasso, Casas, and Santiago Rusinol; the Art Nouveau jewelry of Lluis Masriera; public and domestic architecture by Gaudi, Domenech, and Josep Puig; posters, advertisements, and other ephemera by Casas and other proponents of modernisme; and works of Catalan literature. Accompanied by a wealth of historical and contemporary photographs of the cityscape, this book-which also serves as the catalog for a landmark exhibition of the same name organized by the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam-invites the reader to promenade along the most remarkable spots in the city, from Las Ramblas, the Gran Teatre del Liceu, and the Palau de la Musica; to Els Quartes Gats, the cafe where Picasso and his friends met; and Parc Guell and Gaudi's Sagrada Familia.
"The subject of this catalog, edited by Sala and accompanying an exhibition at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, is turn-of-the-20th-century Barcelona and its great architectural, cultural, political, and societal changes. Coverage includes the works of dominant artists and architects (e.g., Antoni Gaudi's Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Familia), notable landmarks (e.g., Els Quartes Gats, the cafe once frequented by Pablo Picasso and his bohemian circle of friends), and influences that include fin de siecle Paris, impressionism, and Norwegian artist Edvard Munch within the dynamics of the times. Art historian contributors capture the major highlights of this Catalan city's modernist transformation in eight brief and beautifully illustrated essays. An anthology of poems and prose follows the essays and provides a sampling of Barcelona's literary character. Readers are allowed a glimpse into the lives of the upper classes through interior photographs of their dwellings, and there are many exquisite full-page, full-color reproductions of decorative displays, architectural photographs, and poster art. An exciting chronicle of Barcelona's rich modern history for contemporary readers; recommended for all art-book collections."-Library Journal, 15 March 2008