National Art Museum reconsiders Gaudí in exhibition featuring rarely seen pieces

MNAC avoids clichés on Sagrada Família architect and explores his "complex" side through 650 items including furniture and art works

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 | Barcelona

November 18, 2021 02:28 PM

The Catalan National Art Museum (MNAC) wants to reconsider the renowned architect Antoni Gaudí in its new exhibition opening on Friday. 

The ambitious project wants to avoid the traditional "clichés" surrounding the artist, who is typically linked to colorful designs, light, Mediterranean life and an almost divine inspiration. 

The new show seeks to explore his "complex" side and ponders how linked to the society of that time he was, including the bourgeoisie and his international connections, according to the organizers. 

"He was influenced by and competing with some other architects," says Juan José Lahuerta, the exhibit curator. 

For him, the aim of the display is to show that Gaudí is "not the unknown character, the misunderstood artist, nor an artist who gets his ideas from an imagination in the sky." 

Lahuerta also says that visitors will not only enjoy the 650 pieces related to Gaudí that the exhibition will offer, but it will also "make people reflect on his work and on the history of Barcelona, in which he plays a key role."

Works of art, photos, sketches, designs, and furniture

The objects on display in MNAC, some of which never before exhibited or very rarely seen in public, include works of art, photos, sketches, designs, and furniture. For instance, a chaise longue and a dressing table designed by Gaudí can be seen. 

Owned by the Güell family, the most well-known patrons of the architect, the pieces were put together for their Palau Güell mansion in the centre of the Catalan capital.

The reconstruction of a hall in the world-famous La Pedrera building, located on Barcelona's Passeig de Gràcia, with furniture that has undergone refurbishment is another highlight, along with a reconstruction of the artist’s workshop including models, geometric objects, and sketches of bodies, plants and animals. 

A bust in the Hercules fountain at the capital's Palau de Pedralbes Gardens, material used to model the sculptures in Sagrada Família, and pictures of the Park Güell only displayed in 1910 are among the other pieces to be found in the new exhibition. 

The display, co-produced with Paris' Musée d'Orsay, will be open until March 6, when it will then travel to the French museum.