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New CaixaForum Girona kicks off with an exhibition on the 19th century Catalan bourgeoisie

An exhibition on the rise and fall of the Catalan industrial and financial bourgeoisie in the 19th century titled ‘Gold Fever’ inaugurates the new CaixaForum in Girona. After the merger with La Caixa, the cultural centre of the former savings bank Caixa Girona has been transformed into the new CaixaForum.

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11 May 2011 01:17 PM

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ACN / Tania Tapia

Girona (ACN).- Girona unveils its new CaixaForum museum with an exhibition on the 19th century Catalan industrial and financial bourgeoisie\u2019s lifestyle and art. With \u2018Gold Fever\u2019, CaixaForum Girona begins its activities. The centre is not new to the city\u2019s art scene, as it comes from the former Caixa Girona\u2019s cultural centre, located in the historic building la Fontana d\u2019Or. After the merger of the savings banks La Caixa and Caixa Girona, the cultural centre passed to be managed by La Caixa\u2019s Foundation, focused on social work. This entity already manages several CaixaForum museums, such as in Barcelona and Madrid. Now, after undergoing a renovation and sprucing up in the Fontana d\u2019Or building, the new CaixaForum Girona is ready and set to top quality standards to host masterpieces, which require certain ventilation and climatic systems in place.


An exhibition that portrays the beginning, the rise and also the fall of the Catalan industrial bourgeoisie of the 19th century opens the new CaixaForum\u2019s activities. The show is entitled \u2018Gold Fever\u2019, in honour of a book from a Catalan author, Narcís Oller, who portrayed the bourgeoisie in his books. According to its naturalist style, Oller wrote \u2018Gold Fever\u2019 as a fresco of the so-called high bourgeoisie, with a very descriptive style. The exhibition is organised on the bases of the book\u2019s narrative. It displays paintings, documents and dresses from the times this new-rich class was born. The show wants to portray the \u201Cexquisite opulence that delighted the elite classes\u201D of the time, explained Miquel-Angel Codes, the exhibition\u2019s curator. \u2018Gold Fever\u2019 was unveiled last Friday and will run until August 15th.

Catalonia\u2019s early industrialisation, mainly pushed by the textile industry, as well as the increase in trade with America and the rest of Europe, transformed the merchants into a wealthy bourgeoisie class in the 19th century. However, there was a particular bourgeoisie coming mainly from the Catalan wine industry, which flourished in the late 19th century due to the phylloxera plague in the French vineyards. Catalan wine exports (together with La Rioja) supplied part of the production decrease in France. This fast growing industry created a new-rich class, which soon diversified its businesses and got richer. Those times were known as \u201Cthe Gold Fever\u201D in Catalonia, and new manners, cultural movements and economic contexts were developed. Those opulent new-rich people hired painters to portray them, for instance, dining or assisting at Barcelona\u2019s Opera Theatre, the Liceu. Works from Francesc Miralles, Francesc Mas Riera or Romà Ribera can be seen in the exhibition. Realism and Catalan Art Nouveau (known as Modernism) are the main styles of the works on show, which also include fine arts objects such as dresses and furniture.

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  • A painting by Modest Teixidor showing Barcelona's Pla de Palau (by Museo del Prado / Fundació La Caixa)

  • A painting by Francesc Masriera (by Museo del Prado / Fundació La Caixa)

  • The exhibition will run until August 15th (by T. Tapia)

  • A painting by Modest Teixidor showing Barcelona's Pla de Palau (by Museo del Prado / Fundació La Caixa)
  • A painting by Francesc Masriera (by Museo del Prado / Fundació La Caixa)
  • The exhibition will run until August 15th (by T. Tapia)