SANTIAGO ALCOLEA I BLANCH
Art historian, Director of the Amatller Institute of Hispanic Art Foundation (Casa Amatller) of Barcelona.
Specialist in the works of the Prado Museum, he has collaborated intensively with the Government of Catalonia in the Inventory of Assets of the Catalan Catholic Church.
“As is the case of a man shaped in the times of the Renaissance, Josep Puig i Cadafalch (1867-1956) is a multi-faceted, passionate and committed figure capable of concentrating all his energies in the simultaneous exercise of politics, architecture, archaeology and art history.
And not only that, but he managed to combine these different fields of action in a single inspiring discourse, built on a foundation of extensive historical knowledge, which made his architectural creations a true manifest of national identity, always understood, though, as a singularity integrated in a European context.
Actually, we could say that the architecture of Josep Puig i Cadafalch is the visual translation of the spirit of the Renaissance.”
ALBERT BALCELLS I GONZALEZ
Professor of Contemporary History at the UAB [Autonomous University of Barcelona].
He was Vice Dean of the Official College of Doctors and Graduates in Arts and Sciences.
Member of the Institute of Catalan Studies.
Specialist in social history, he is the author of numerous publications related to the political and social history of Catalonia.
“Puig i Cadafalch was the second president of the Commonwealth of Catalonia. He had been the right hand of Prat de la Riba in cultural policy and the continuity was absolute between 1917 and 1923. He was re-elected unopposed in 1919, 1921 and 1923. It was during his presidency that the four Catalan provincial councils transferred all their resources to the Commonwealth, thus acquiring greater capacity for action, though not achieving the sought-after political autonomy. The governments of the Commonwealth remained stable, despite being pluralistic. It was during this time that telephone service, public libraries and other services attained their maximum deployment. Forced into exile in 1936, he did not go over to General Franco’s side, nor did he join, as did others of his party, the Catalan League. After the Civil War, Puig i Cadafalch clandestinely re-established the Institute of Catalan Studies in 1942 at his home. His Catalan nationalism was unshakable.”
ORIOL BOHIGAS I GUARDIOLA
PhD in Architecture and Urban Planning from ETSAB (Superior Technical School of Architecture of Barcelona).
He served as the president of the Miró Foundation, the Ateneu Barcelonès and was City Planning Delegate of the Barcelona City Council.
He was awarded the Creu de Sant Jordi (1991) by the Government of Catalonia.
He received the Gold Medal of the Superior Council of the Colleges of Architects of Spain (1990) and the City of Barcelona Prize (1999) among others.
His architectural works and urban planning projects are found in many countries.
“Perhaps the most admirable quality of Puig i Cadafalch is his ability to give conceptual and methodological unity to various disciplines. There is a kind of unitary thinking in his pluristylistic architecture, in his political action, in the effort of historical investigation and in his character as a citizen and as a professional. One need only analyze the architecture that he developed throughout his life: from Modernism to Noucentisme, from historicist eclecticism to the Mediterranean interpretation of Viennese classicism. And all with the idea of involving Catalan architecture—plagued by insufficiencies and political and cultural voids—in the integrity of international movements, an objective that also explains his task as President of the Commonwealth, his studies on the Romanesque and the often foundational participation in many institutions that have shaped modern Catalonia.”
EDUARD CARBONELL I ESTELLER
Professor of Medieval Art History at the University of Girona and the UAB.
He was General Director of Cultural Heritage of the Government of Catalonia between 1988 and 1994.
A promoter of the current Law of Museums, he also held the position of Director of the National Art Museum of Catalonia (MNAC), from which he promoted museum reform.
“A fundamental aspect of the political and cultural work of Josep Puig i Cadafalch is undoubtedly his participation in the organization and creation of the museum system in Barcelona. As Councillor of the Barcelona City Council in 1902, Puig i Cadafalch promoted and participated in the creation of the Municipal Board of Museums and Fine Arts of this city. From this moment on, a period of museum organization commenced at the buildings in Parc de la Ciutadella, which experienced a decisive moment in 1907 with the constitution of the Board of Museums of Barcelona and the incorporation of the Barcelona Provincial Council. Puig i Cadafalch will be president. It is the same year that, on the initiative of Enric Prat de la Riba, the Institute of Catalan Studies was founded in which Puig will also participate. The museums of the City Council and the Provincial Council are merged, the collections of Decorative Arts and Archaeology are organized and, subsequently, the collections of Ancient Art and Modern and Contemporary Art will be defined. The foundations are laid for what would later be the great development of all the city’s museums in the buildings of the Montjuïc Exhibition of 1929, and in Pedralbes, with J. Folch i Torres. An important aspect of the activity of the Board of Museums is the obtaining of collections for museums in Barcelona; and here we must include the mission of the Institute of Catalan Studies at the border of Aragon in 1907, which he himself directed, and the various campaigns for the recovery of the Romanesque mural paintings of the Pyrenees, under the Commonwealth between 1919 and 1923 principally with J. Folch i Torres, being president of the Commonwealth Puig i Cadafalch (1917-1924). After the Civil War, in 1942, he again presided over the Institute of Catalan Studies.
Another fundamental aspect of Puig i Cadafalch’s work is that of art historian. With his study of Catalan Romanesque architecture (1909-1918), rigorous and exhaustive, he defined a theory about the beginnings of the first European Romanesque architecture. This represented the explicitation of two decisive factors for historiography and for Catalan art. First, he situated studies on Catalan art at the international level, as other countries such as France and Italy were doing at that time, publishing in the most prestigious scientific journals, and imparting courses in various cities including London (Courtauld Institute), Paris (Sorbonne) and the USA (Harvard), among others. Secondly, he presented Catalan art, basically ancient and medieval Catalan art, at the international level, as a specific art bound to a land and a nation, and with a continuity between the ancient and the medieval. We cite his studies: Romanesque architecture in Catalonia (1909-18), together with Antoni Falguera and Josep Goday; The first Romanesque art (1928); The geography and the origins of the first Romanesque art (1930); Civil Gothic architecture in Catalonia (1935); Romanesque sculpture in Catalonia in Monumenta Cataloniae (1949, 1952, 1954). We should also mention his monographs on the Monastery of Cuixà, the churches of Terrassa, and the portal of Ripoll.
We could say that, undoubtedly, he internationalized studies on Catalan art and Catalan medieval art itself.”
Art critic. Degree in Information Sciences.
He has been the director of Caixa de Catalunya Foundation, the MACBA (Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona) and Espai Gaudí. Recipient of the National Design Award of the Government of Catalonia.
President Emeritus of the ACCA (Catalan Association of Art Critics), he is a corresponding member of numerous academies. He has curated a large number of exhibitions of art and architecture and acts as a contributing writer and disseminator of knowledge on these subjects in a number of publications.
“What I admire most about Puig i Cadafalch is the magnitude of his work and the versatility of his figure. Of course, Casa Terrrades, Casa Amatller, Casa Serra, Palau del Baró de Quadras, Casa Macaya, and the Casarramona factory in Barcelona, plus the Codorniu cellars in Sant Sadurní are works of indisputable reference of our Modernism, but behind this character we find a man of colossal culture, who turned himself to politics, historical research, and to the construction of a country with the same enthusiasm, with the objective to make Catalonia into a modern state.”
JOSEP GUITART I DURAN
PhD in Archaeology from the University of Barcelona.
Professor of Archaeology at the UAB, he is Director of the Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology.
He was Deputy Director General of Museums, Plastic Arts and Archaeology of the Government of Catalonia and General Director of Universities.
Member of the History and Archaeology Section of the Institute of Catalan Studies.
“Puig i Cadafalch and classical archaeology
Puig i Cadafalch’s contribution to classical archaeology may seem, at first glance, a secondary aspect of his main career as an architect, as a politician and as a Romanesque scholar, but the reality is that the activities that he undertook in this field, seemingly so distant, connect perfectly with his intellectual personality. These activities and especially his two most important contributions—the excavations of Empúries and his studies of Roman architecture in Catalonia—were splendid fruits of his talent and tenacity and have left a deep imprint on our archaeology.”
RAMON MANENT I RODON
Professional photographer specialized in art, history and geography.
Author of a multitude of publications related to art and architecture, in collaboration with leading experts in the field, including Cirici Pellicer, Giralt Miracle, Santiago Alcolea, Joan Bassegoda, among many others.
“Puig i Cadafalch is a multifaceted character: politician, architect and historian, dedicated to recovery of the artistic heritage of Catalonia.
From my perspective as a photographer, the Puig I have discovered is that of the ARCHITECT OF LIGHT. His works have shown me the masterful way of integrating light in his creation, achieving intimate, cosy and charming spaces like those from the Arabian Nights: the courtyard of the Coll i Regàs house in Mataró, the lobby of Palau Baró de Quadras, the inner courtyard of the Palau Macaya, the interior corridors of the Casa Amatller, to name a few.
This is for me one of the facets of the brilliant multifaceted diamond that is Puig i Cadafalch.”
LLUÍS PERMANYER I LLADÓS
Lawyer, journalist and essayist, he writes regularly for La Vanguardia.
Chronicler of the city of Barcelona.
Author of numerous works on art, architecture and cultural heritage, with special attention to Modernism and Puig i Cadafalch (Polígrafa 2001). He received the Luca de Tena Prize in 1969 and the City of Barcelona Prize for Journalism in 1987.
“Josep Puig i Cadafalch was a man of firm convictions and persistence. He lived the certainty that he had the privilege of intervening decisively in the passionate process of recreation of his country. This temperament, perhaps too inflexible and prickly for a politician, influenced his architectural task, which left a mark of great personality and value.”
JOSEP MARIA SANS TRAVÉ
Historian and archivist. Degree in Medieval History from the UAB.
He was Head of the Archives Service and later, General Director of Cultural Heritage of the Government of Catalonia.
He is a scholar of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Barcelona and directs the National Archive of Catalonia.
“As director of the National Archive of Catalonia, I cordially greet the constitution of the Cultural Association of Friends of Josep Puig i Cadafalch. Our archive retains the documentary collection of Puig i Cadafalch, made up of more than 215 binder files and folders containing his projects, blueprints, drawings, notes, correspondence and all the documents that reflect this extraordinary personality who was one of the principal architects and politicians of our country. In addition, with the collaboration of the MNAC, the Institute of Catalan Studies and the Catalan Institute of Classical Archaeology, we are promoting the edition of the last work by Puig i Cadafalch, which could not be published in its time. I am referring to the work entitled Pre-Romanesque Christian Architecture in Catalonia. For all these reasons, I adhere to the association, secure in the knowledge that it will contribute decisively to a better understanding of the life and work of Josep Puig i Cadafalch.”
JAUME SOBREQUÈS I CALLICÓ
Historian and politician.
Professor of History of Catalonia at the UAB.
He was a Senator for Entesa dels Catalans (1977) and a member of the Comissió dels Vint that drafted the Statute of Catalonia in 1979.
He was a Member of the Parliament of Catalonia for the PSC (Socialist Party of Catalonia).
Recipient of the Creu de Sant Jordi 2008.
President of the rector team of the Catalan Summer University.
Author of numerous publications related to medieval and contemporary history of Catalonia.
“In 1922, denouncing the manipulation by the Spanish state, Puig i Cadafalch wrote: The decline of a people is always accompanied by the forgetfulness of their own existence. The powerful, if necessary, invent the glories of their past and forge the political theories that ennoble the injustices that have made their triumphs possible…”
MANUEL CUSACHS I XIVILLÉ
His pieces are part of official corporations, public spaces, religious orders and private collections in Europe, the USA, Asia, and Argentina.
Recipient of the Creu de Sant Jordi (2001), Scholar for Mataró of the Royal Catalan Academy of Fine Arts of Sant Jordi (2007), and adopted son of Òrrius (2001) where he has his workshop and residence.
A series of eventualities resulted in him interpreting the portrait and figure of Josep Puig i Cadafalch on five different occasions over the years.
This circumstance motivated the interest to get closer to his personality. I have to say that at home, thanks to my grandmother’s influence, we were clearly sympathetic to him because of the fact that our great-grandfather—a carpenter—had worked for him during his time in Mataró. My admiration already came from here.
Later conversations with his granddaughters Maria Lluïsa and Teresa (Titit), complete with anecdotes and family photographs, brought me closer to his private life and the memory, from my adolescence, of having met him. He was already elderly but full of humanity; these are the references, the connotations that have helped me to interpret his portrait—I would like to be able to say his character.
If his political contumacy has been criticized, his wisdom and art, his defence of our culture, roots and language, as well as the international projection of our country and our capital, are impeccable.