Toward the end of the 19th century, Barcelona underwent an astonishing transformation, both architecturally and socially. The rise of industry in and around the city attracted wealthy industrialists and the bourgeoisie, who, in turn, commissioned artists and architects, giving rise to a creative boom. But it was the 1888 World Expo that gave impetus to a new spirit of modernism.

Young Catalan artists traveled to Paris, and inspired by the decorative style of Art Nouveau, created Modernista Catalana. In painting the new style featured the use of sparkling colors and a subtle play on lines, while in architecture, the influence was best illustrated in its introduction of new materials, such as wrought iron, mosaic tableaux and ceramics, used in traditional Catalan techniques. The most famous example is Antoni Gaudí's Casa Batllo, while engineer Ildefons Cerdà's urban expansion of Barcelona is considered to be one of the most visionary architectural innovations of the 19th century, and still quoted as a reference point for architects and town planners to this day.

September 21, 2007 through January 20, 2008

Postbus 75366 1070 AJ Amsterdam
T: +31 (0)20 570 52 92