Musée d'Orsay hosts France's first major Gaudí exhibition in fifty years

President Aragonès attends opening of show offering "new vision" of renowned Catalan architect

Furniture of Barcelona's La Pedrera in MNAC exhibition on Gaudí on November 18, 2021 (by Pau Cortina)
Furniture of Barcelona's La Pedrera in MNAC exhibition on Gaudí on November 18, 2021 (by Pau Cortina) / ACN

ACN | Paris

April 11, 2022 06:22 PM

An exhibition featuring rarely seen pieces by renowned Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí opened at the Musée d'Orsay in Paris on Monday, with Catalan president Pere Aragonès among the dignitaries present.

The show – the first major exhibition in France devoted to Gaudí in fifty years – arrives from Barcelona, where it was on display at Catalonia's National Art Museum (MNAC) from November 2021 until March 2022.

The Catalan culture and foreign action ministers, Natàlia Garriga and Victòria Alsina, also attended the inauguration, along with Museu d'Orsay director Christophe Leribault, curator Elise Dubreuil, MNAC president Joan Oliveras and director Pepe Serra, and Juan José Lahuerta, who curated the Barcelona exhibition.

The show promises to offer a "new vision of the artist as a unique and singular figure, a non-isolated genius who practiced in a Catalonia in the midst of social, political and urbanistic upheaval."

Through drawings, models and pieces of furniture – some of which have never before displaying in France – the exhibition leads visitors through Gaudí's creations of palaces, hotels, parks, and churches, including the Sagrada Familia.

The exhibition focuses on "showing the architect's creative process at a time of an exceptional local artistic profusion linked to Modernisme," the Art Nouveau movement that was an artistic expression of Catalonia's distinct identity.

The Museu d'Orsay's Gaudí exhibition opens to the public on April 12 and runs until July 17.

Far-right in France and Spain

After attending the exhibition, Aragonès spoke to the media by the banks of the Seine, addressing the big story of the day in France: far-right Marine Le Pen getting through the first round of the French presidential election alongside the incumbent president, Emmanuel Macron.

"In many parts of Europe, right-wing parties isolate the far right. In Spain, on the other hand, they are put in government," Aragonès said, referencing regional coalitions and agreements between the conservative People's Party and far-right Vox, most recently in Castile and León.

Catalonia is "different", the president said, as the far right "has no place there."

He expressed "concern" over the results of the far right in France: "We want the values of democracy, respect for human rights and Europeanism to be strengthened in every election."

Green hydrogen pipeline

The Catalan president's Paris agenda also included a trip to France's Renewable Energies Syndicate (SER), where he shared the proposal to kickstart the MidCat gas pipeline project, which he said could eventually be used for the transport of green hydrogen.

The organization agreed to share information on green hydrogen initiatives that are being carried out in France.

They also discussed offshore wind farm projects underway in France, including one at Leucata (Leucate), in Northern Catalonia (a Catalan region in France), and a possible underwater interconnection with the Tramuntana wind farm that may be constructed off the Costa Brava coast.

At the end of the meeting, the Aragonès reiterated that Midcat could be one of the "most interesting projects to provide a network of gas pipelines throughout Europe."

"The more alternative energy sources there are, the less dependence there will be on certain producers," he said.

In March, the president traveled to Stuttgart to announce where he announced that Catalonia and Baden-Württemberg had agreed to create a working group to develop green hydrogen projects.