The originality of Catalan Modernisme is the result of an apparent contradiction between tradition and modernity. It represented the re-examination of Catalonia’s own history and traditions by a society that wanted to be cosmopolitan and modern. During the decade of the 1890s, architects and designers revived the past with styles which were simultaneously medieval, archaic and cosmopolitan.

After 1900, there was an added preference for the abstract sinuous forms of the European Art Nouveau. The neutral standing of Spain during the First World War and a certain economic well-being derived from this, allowed Modernisme to continue right in to the 1920s, which is another of the peculiarities if this Catalan movement compared to its European counterparts.

Modernisme spread across the territories of Catalonia, the Balearic Islands and Valencia, appearing as the definitive style of the bourgeoisie in the new industrial cities and in the provincial capitals. Houses, summer villas and public buildings as well as factories, industrial complexes and agricultural co-operatives became identified with abstract Modernista forms.

The construction of the Eixample district in Barcelona took the city beyond its ancient walls, thus extending the urban limits. Economic prosperity encouraged investment in construction and the modification of the municipal by-laws in 1891, changes in urban typography and many new decorative licences.

In the city of Barcelona the three great names in architectural Modernisme left some of their best works: Antoni Gaudi with his abstract conception of architecture, Josep Puig i Cadafalch with a more historical perception and Lluis Domenech i Montaner who surrounded himself with a whole band of artisans and industrialists. But there were many other architects including Enric Sagnier, Domenech i Estapa and merchants and industrialists such as the Count of Guell family and the Marquis of Comillas dynasties who were enthralled by Modernisme and acted as important sponsors of these architects and in particular of Gaudi and Domenech i Montaner.

Image artist function date
Antoni Gaudí i Cornet Architect and designer 1852-1926
Lluís Domènech i Montane architect, designer, historian and politician 1850-1923
Caterina Albert i Paradís (aka Víctor Català) architect, historian and politician 1869-1966
Eusebi Arnau i Mascart sculptor ans medal maker 1864-1933
Bonaventura Bassegoda i Amigó architect and art critic 1862-1940
Joaquim Bassegoda i Amigó architect 1854-1938
Juli Batllevell Architect 1864-1928
Miquel Blay i Fabregas sculptor 1866-1936
Lluís Bru i Salelles mosaicist and designer 1868-1952
Ramon Casas i Carbó painter 1866-1932
Josep Domènech i Estap architect 1858-1917
Lambert Escaler sculptor, decorator and playwright 1874-1957
Pere Falqués i Urpí architect and urban planner 1850-1916
Juli Maria Fossas i Martínez architect 1868-1946
Antoni Maria Gallissà i Soqué architect 1861-1903
Pau Gargallo i Catalán sculptor 1881-1934
Enric Granados musician 1867-1916
Gaspar Homar i Mezquida cabinet maker and decorator 1870-1956
Josep Maria Jujol i Gibert architect and designer 1879-1949
Alfons Juyol i Bach sculptor 1860-1917
Josep Llimona sculptor 1864-1934
Joan Maragall i Gorina writer 1860-1911
Adolf Mas i Ginestà photographer 1861-1936
Lluís Masriera i Rosés jeweller, painter and stage designer 1872-1958
Apel•les Mestres i Oños writer, illustrator and songwriter 1854-1936
Lluís Millet i Pagés musician 1867-1941
Joaquim Mir i Trinxet painter 1873-1940
Isidre Nonell i Monturiol painter 1872-1911
Joan Rubió i Bellver architect and archaeologist (1871-1952
Alexandre de Riquer i Inglada painter, poet, and poster designer 1856-1920
Antoni Rigalt i Blanc glass maker 1850-1914
Manuel Joaquim Raspall i Mayol architect 1877-1937
Ricard Opisso i Sala painter and cartoonist 1880-1966
Adolf Ruiz i Casamitjana architect 1869-1937
Pablo Ruiz Picasso painter, sculptor and ceramist 1881-1973
Santiago Rusiñol i Prats painter and writer 1861-1931
Enric Sagnier i Villavecchia architect 1858-1931
Manuel Sayrach i Carreras architect and writer 1886-1937
Ismael Smith i Marí sculptor and engraver 1886-1972
Miquel Utrillo i Morlius painter, art critic and engineer 1862-1934
Salvador Valeri i Pupurull architect 1873-1954
Lluïsa Vidal i Puig painter 1876-1918
Josep Vilaseca i Casanovas architect 1848-1910
Salvador Viñals i Sabaté architect 1847-1926
Amadeu Vives i Roig musician 1871-1932
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Municipal Institute of Urban Landscape and Quality of Life,
Barcelona City Council – Institut Municipal del Paisatge Urbà i la Qualitat de Vida,
Ajuntament de Barcelona
Institut Municipal del Paisatge Urbà i la Qualitat de Vida
6-8 Av. Drassanes, planta 21
E – 08001 Barcelona
Phone: +34 932 562 509

Local Partner:
Barcelona Modernisme Honorary Council – Consell d’Honor de la Art Nouveau European Route and Consell d’Honor de la Ruta des Modernisme de Barcelona


Ruta del Modernisme > Domènech i Montaner, Puig i Cadafalch i Antoni Gaudi
Institute of Urban Landscape, Barcelona 
Any Internacional Gaudi

Exhibition, Network News Barcelona

The Advertising Boom. Tin, cardboard and tile posters. 1890-1950 The exhibition is a tour, from the end of the 19th century to the middle of the 20th, through graphic commercial advertising dedicated especially to the promotion of everyday products: food, wines and cavas, pharmaceuticals, care products, tobacco, machines etc. Besides popular paper posters, the exhibition… Read more »

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Event, Network News Barcelona

On 31 May and June 1 and 2, 2019 Barcelona will celebrate the 15th edition of the Fira Modernista, this year dedicated to modernisme architect Josep Maria Jujol (1879-1949) in commemoration of the 140 years of his birth. During the Fair, a large number of recreational and cultural activities will be organised, including talks, workshops,… Read more »

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