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Pau Casals, art collector

Museum of Modern Art of the Diputació of Tarragona

From 11 July to 6 October 2013

Pau Casals

Francesc Fontbona, author of the monograph Pau Casals, col·leccionista d'art (Pau Casals, art collector) and commissionaire of the exhibition of the same name being presented at the Museum of Modern Art of the Diputació of Tarragona, offers us an insight into the art collection of Pau Casals and, indirectly, the relationship between music and art. The collection is a very extensive one, so the author has limited the content of this book and the selection of works for the exhibition to paintings, sculpture, drawings and prints.

In the words of Francesc Fontbona:

"Although historically little attention has been paid to the activity of Casals as a collector, it is in fact a major landmark not only for its artistic value but for the symbolic value the master confers upon it.

Without doubt, for Casals building the house and gardens in Sant Salvador del Vendrell and filling them with art works and antiques was a way of visibly demonstrating the elevated status this boy of humble origins had attained through his talent and hard work. Furthermore, Casals' selection of works is also a form of aesthetic and conceptual self-portrait that would not have gone unnoticed by his biographers or those interested in the cultural history of this country.

The artistic collection was for the Villa Casals - Pau Casals Museum in Sant Salvador, the maritime district of El Vendrell where the musician established what was to be his primary residence. The Spanish Civil War and its consequences converted this stronghold painstakingly conceived by its creators into a lost paradise in which Pau Casals would never set up home.

Although we are focusing on the figure of an artist and a creator such as Pau Casals, who expressed himself through music both as a performer and a composer, it is worth underlining that an art collection is, in its own way, a type of creative work, and delving into the collection of this musician will surely also tell us much about his personality, preferences, preventions and attitude as a man and as a figure".

The exhibition features major works by painters and sculptors from the 19th and 20th century such as Josep Amat, Ricard Canals, Ramon Casas, Rafael Benet, Joaquim Mir, Francesc Gimeno, Ramon Martí Alsina, Eliseu Meifen, Mariano Benlliure, Apel·les Fenosa, Agustí Querol and Joan Rebull, among others.