The modernisme was born like a result of the confluence of a series of cultural, academic, social, political and economic events:

  1. The creation of the Superior Technical School of Architecture of Barcelona: that will create an own and modern style.
  2. Renaixença: that will suppose the consolidation of the catalanism.
  3. Architecture: traditional superposition of new techniques and decorations.
  4. Union between art, historiography, literature, policy.
  5. Universal exhibition of 1888: where the creators of the modernisme had their first opportunity to show their new conception of architecture and art.

Unlike the rest of Spain, where the modernisme is pronounced mainly in literature, with very few but significant artistic manifestations, in Catalonia the ideological and artistic tendencies are mixed.

Barcelona and Sitges, because of the will of Rusiñol, are the main centers of modernist manifestations, although we will find manifestations of this movement all around our geography.

In music, the figure of Wagner will seduce particularly the composers of the time. In painting the impresionism and the neoimpresionism are added. The sculpture will go towards Roll's direction to vitality, with a noticeable dreamed accent, within a sweet and full world of chimeras.

More than in the applied arts, in architecture we find a nostalgia for the beauty of the past - very important was the hiking, in addition to the decorative, structural and compositive new features. In spite of its contacts with the archaeological populism, it is not correct, unlike the Noucentisme, to assign the modernism within the political catalanism. More than one modernist considered himself a "supranational".


Palau of Catalan Music Lluís Domènech i Montaner 1905-1905 The Catalan Orfeó acquired the lands in 1891. It is the building that exemplifies better the Modernism: laminated iron structure and decorative wealth: stained glasses, mosaics, sculpture, forged iron, ceramic, woodwork, etc. The architect parts from the wagnerian idea of the integration of the arts.
Els 4 Gats (Martí House) Puig i Cadafalch House in which the architect makes a free reading of the Catalan gothic style. He does not conserve the original threshold. Recovery of the brick, iron, glass, etc. 1897: Pere Romeu opens "Els 4 Gats", which became the center of the social gathering for most of the innovating intellectuals, directed by Casas and Rusiñol. Young Picasso made the first Menu.
Pascual i Pons House Enric Saigner 1890-1891 One of the few works of this great architect that can be considered completely modernist. Actually, they are two independent houses with a great unity and symmetry. The architect was inspired by a neogothic reading, just like Puig i Cadafalch used to do. He emphasizes the stained glass of Rigalt and Granell that is conserved in the noble level.
Rocamora House Joaquim Bassegoda i Amigó Set of three buildings, with a homage tower in the corner of Caspe street, that breaks with the existing uniformity in the three blocks. Use of the brick and the roofing tile like remarcables elements, as well as for the forged iron.
Marfà Widow House Manuel Commas 1904 House that shows the influence of the Catalan gothic style in the three main arches and in the three tribunes, with its fine gargoyles and columns. It is remarkable the skylight of the inner patio, just as the conservation of the elevator.
Lleó Morera House Lluís Domènech i Montaner 1905 He supposes to get to a master work in the most colorist concept of all his works. The facade is calmed, of stone, with rich sculpture relieves and mutilated tribune. The ground floor is very reformed in its reduced showcases. It hosted the interiorist Joan Busquets i d'Audouar's workshop, one of the pioneers of photography in Catalonia. We can emphasize the noble level decoration, a rich woodwork made by Gaspar Homar that is conserved in the Modern Art Museum. Also we must emphasize the inner stained glasses of the building that reproduce visions of the country. Notorious is the entrance with ceramics decorations in thw stairs and walls, and the conservation of the elevator, a preciousist marquetry work.
Amatller House Puig i Cadafalch 1900 Preexisting building. It is a first work, with a free interpretation of the gothic style. The top is clearly inspired in the dutch work. Great ornamental richness translates in the series of graffito, sculptures, forged iron, ceramics, stained glasses, lights, etc. It's emphasizing the work of sculptor Eusebi Arnau. In the entrance, it is remarkable the sculpture of Saint George killing the dragon. The jewelry shop that is in the ground floor is the only one that has copyright to make modernist jewels from the Masriera family (the only ones that made the best jewelry in Barcelona during those days).
Batlló House Antoni Gaudí 1905-1907 The reconstruction of an existing house of 1877. They have always said that Gaudí wanted to represent the legend of Saint George. The tribunes of the lower part would be the cave of the dragon; the railings of the balconies, the eyes of the dragon; the upper part, the scaly body of the dragon with the nailed lance. Contrary to what they think, the facade is not ceramic trecandís, but glass paste.
Editorial Montaner i Simón Lluís Domènech i Montaner 1881-1886 It happens to be one of the first industrial modernist buildings. It was conceived as a market or train station. We have to emphasize the great central zenithal illumination that let the linotipistas work in very good conditions, and the actual library of the Tapies Foundation which was the old warehouse of the publishing house. The facade has a noticeable mudéjar style.
La Pedrera (Milà House) Antoni Gaudí 1906-1912 House constructed immediately after the Batlló House and parallely to Park Güell. He abandons the architectonic historicisms for a personal aesthetic. With two ventilation patios, service areas and elevators. Parking cellar. It lacks the image of Our Lady of the Roser, which had to preside the construction. This building marks Gaudí's abandonment of the modernisme.