"Sagnier and the modernistes. The architect's vocation 1880-1930" by Lluís Permanyer

More information

Lluís Permanyer.
Catalan.- Francesc Bombí. English.- Gary Huxley.
Edited by
Antonio Sagnier, Fernando Villavecchia.
Script and editorial direction.- Ramón Úbeda. Graphic design.- Úbeda. Distributed by.- RBA.
Measures / Pages
19x25 cm, 264 pages.
Spanish, Catalan, English.
Hard cover.
Year of publication

Enric Sagnier

Enric Sagnier was born in Barcelona on 21 March 1858, the son of Lluís Sagnier i Nadal, president of the Caixa d’Estalvis i Mont de Pietat de Barcelona (a bank), and Clementina Villavecchia Busquets. His father was an outstanding Classics scholar, who translated Xenophon and Anacreon, and the young Enric was a talented painter and violinist. He studied at the Barcelona Higher School of Architecture, from which he graduated in 1882.

He began his professional career as an assistant to Francisco de Paula del Villar y Lozano: under his instructions he carried out his first work, the refurbishment of the chapel of Sant Josep in the church of Santa Maria de Montserrat abbey (1884). His first important work was the church of Santa Engràcia de Montcada (1886), in neo-Gothic style; it was destroyed during the Spanish Civil War. His first apartment building, the Casa Cuyàs, was built the same year.

He had considerable professional success from the beginning, receiving many commissions from the Church and the Catalan aristocracy. In 1886, while still in his twenties, he was commissioned, together with Josep Domènech i Estapà, to design Barcelona's new Law Courts. Construction of this enormous project began the following year, and that same year Sagnier married Dolors Vidal-Ribas i Torrents. The couple had six children, of whom two died young and one, Josep Maria, also became an architect.

Enric Sagnier received many honours, such as the Barcelona City Council's Gold Medal for having won a prize in the Council's architecture competition three years running (1917). He was a member of the Acadèmia de Belles Arts de Sant Jordi and the Cercle Artístic de Sant Lluc, for which he designed the emblem. He also became a member of the Museums Board and a member of the board of the Caixa d’Estalvis de Barcelona. He was occasionally involved in politics, serving as Provincial Deputy on two occasions, representing a Catholic group allied to the Lliga Regionalista, the Centre de Defensa Social. He maintained close links with the Church, particularly the Salesians; he was appointed Diocesan architect of Barcelona, and in 1923 the Pope created him a Marquis. In his later years he worked with his son Josep Maria Sagnier i Vidal. He died in Barcelona in 1931.

Antoni Gaudí i Cornet

Antoni Gaudí i Cornet, (25 June 1852 – 10 June 1926)  was born in 1852 in Riudoms or Reus, to the coppersmith Francesc Gaudí i Serra (1813–1906) and Antònia Cornet i Bertran (1819–1876). He was the youngest of five children, of whom three survived to adulthood: Rosa (1844–1879), Francesc (1851–1876) and Antoni. Gaudí's family originated in the Auvergne region in southern France. One of his ancestors, Joan Gaudí, a hawker, moved to Catalonia in the 17th century; possible origins of Gaudí's family name include Gaudy or Gaudin.

Gaudí's work was influenced by his passions in life: architecture, nature, and religion. He considered every detail of his creations and integrated into his architecture such crafts as ceramics, stained glass, wrought ironwork forging and carpentry. He also introduced new techniques in the treatment of materials, such as trencadís which used waste ceramic pieces.

Under the influence of neo-Gothic art and Oriental techniques, Gaudí became part of the Modernista movement which was reaching its peak in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His work transcended mainstream Modernisme, culminating in an organic style inspired by natural forms. Gaudí rarely drew detailed plans of his works, instead preferring to create them as three-dimensional scale models and moulding the details as he conceived them. Gaudí's work enjoys global popularity and continuing admiration and study by architects. His masterpiece, the still-incomplete Sagrada Família, is the most-visited monument in Spain.

On 7 June 1926, Gaudí was taking his daily walk to the Sant Felip Neri church for his habitual prayer and confession. While walking along the Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes between Girona and Bailén streets, he was struck by a passing tram and lost consciousness. Assumed to be a beggar because of his lack of identity documents and shabby clothing, the unconscious Gaudí did not receive immediate aid. Eventually some passers-by transported him in a taxi to the Santa Creu Hospital, where he received rudimentary care. By the time that the chaplain of the Sagrada Família, Mosén Gil Parés, recognised him on the following day, Gaudí's condition had deteriorated too severely to benefit from additional treatment. Gaudí died on 10 June 1926 at the age of 73 and was buried two days later.

Lluís Domènech i Montaner

Lluís Domènech i Montaner. (December 21, 1850 – December 27, 1923) was a Spanish architect who was highly influential on Modernism, similar to Arts and Crafts, Art Nouveau or Jugendstil movements.

Born in Barcelona, he initially studied physics and natural sciences, but soon switched to architecture. He was registered as an architect in Barcelona in 1873. He also held a 45-year tenure as a professor and director at the Escola d'Arquitectura, Barcelona's school of architecture, and wrote extensively on architecture in essays, technical books and articles in newspapers and journals.

His most famous buildings, the Hospital de Sant Pau and Palau de la Música Catalana in Barcelona, have been collectively designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

As an architect, 45-year professor of architecture and prolific writer on architecture, Domènech i Montaner played an important role in defining the Modernisme arquitectonic. This style has become internationally renowned, mainly by Antoni Gaudí works.

His buildings displayed a mixture between rationalism and fabulous ornamentation inspired by Spanish-Arabic architecture, and followed the curvilinear design typical of Art Nouveau. In the El castell dels 3 dragons restaurant in Barcelona (built for the World's Fair in 1888), which was for many years the Zoological Museum, he applied very advanced solutions (a visible iron structure and ceramics). He later developed this style further in other buildings, such as the Palau de la Música in Barcelona (1908), where he made extensive use of mosaic, ceramics and stained glass, the Hospital de Sant Pau in Barcelona, and the Institut Pere Mata in Reus.

Domènech i Montaner's work evolved towards more open structures and lighter materials, evident in the Palau de la Música. Other architects, like Gaudí, tended to move in the opposite direction.

He died in Barcelona in 1923 and was buried in the Sant Gervasi Cemetery in that city.

Josep Maria Jujol i Gibert

Josep Maria Jujol i Gibert. (Tarragona, September 16, 1879 - Barcelona, ​​May 1, 1949) was a Spanish modernist architect. He collaborated with the architects Antoni Maria Gallissà (1901-1902), Josep Font i Gumà (1902-1904) and Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926), with whom he became his personal and trusted collaborator (they even shared housing in the works of the Sagrada Familia). In 1906 he obtained the title of architect. He participates in the façade, decoration and furniture of Casa Batlló, at the beginning of his career as an architect, and finally he will be the one who will take charge of the works of Casa Milà, both on Passeig de Gràcia in Barcelona.

In 1909 he was appointed interim assistant professor at the Barcelona School of Architecture, and full professor in 1913. In 1924 he was a professor at the School of Work. In October 1926 he is appointed, by competition, auxiliary municipal architect of San Juan Despí (Barcelona), an activity that he will develop alongside Gabriel Borrell, who was the owner. In 1927 he married Teresa Gibert. He participates in the remodeling of Montjuic (Fountain and Palace of the Dress, both of great echo in the city). During the Civil War (1936-39) he took refuge in Sant Joan Despí, where he personally protected some persecuted. After the war, he went through serious financial problems, although he continued to teach at the Barcelona School (to architects such as Coderch or Bohigas). He died in Barcelona on May 1, 1949.

His contributions to art, in addition to architectural ones (houses, churches, etc.) focus on painting and design. In painting, for example, he can be considered the first abstract artist (see the paintings in the Gothic stalls of the Cathedral of Palma de Mallorca, around 1910, throwing paintings from a distance under the pleasantly surprised gaze of the master Gaudí).

Josep Puig i Cadafalch

Josep Puig i Cadafalch. (17 October 1867 – Barcelona, 21 December 1956) was a modernism architect who designed significant buildings in Barcelona. He was the architect of the Casa Martí (also known as "Els Quatre Gats"), which became a place of ideas, projects and social gatherings for such well-known Catalans as Santiago Rusiñol and Ramon Casas.

Although Puig's style separated him significantly from his contemporary Gaudí, have relations as the construction of the Cafe Torino. Another of his significant buildings was the Casa Terrades (also known as "les Punxes").

Puig was actively involved in politics. He published studies of language, legal order and political organisation in the 11th-12th centuries. Amongst his important legacies is also the documentation and photographing of the culturally important buildings and art works the Vall d'Aran and Alta Ribagorça (including the Catalan Romanesque Churches of the Vall de Boí) during an expedition sponsored by the Institute for Catalan Studies in 1907.

Lluís Permanyer

Lluís Permanyer is a long-time journalist and writer and an authority when it comes to the history of Barcelona. He is considered the chronicler of the city. Since 1966 he has written regularly for the newspaper La Vanguardia. His work has been recognized with the Premio Ciutat de Barcelona in 1987 and the Premio Nacional de Periodismo de Catalunya in 2008.



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