Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu on a Tandem

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Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu on a Tandem
Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu on a Tandem
Artist Ramon Casas i Carbó
Year 1897 (1897)
Type Oil on canvas
Location Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona

Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu on a Tandem is a painting by Ramon Casas in exhibition at the National Art Museum of Catalonia in Barcelona.

Description[edit]

Casas painted Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu on a Tandem in 1897 specifically for the interior of Els Quatre Gats, a bar that was at the center of the Modernisme art movement in Barcelona.[1] It depicts Casas and Pere Romeu, one of the promoters of Els Quatre Gats, on a tandem bicycle against the Barcelona skyline. Casas is seen in profile with his pipe, while Romeu looks directly at the viewer.[2] Although painted on canvas, the composition has the graphic quality of a huge poster with its bold drawing and simplified forms, reflecting the fact that the artist was a skilled poster designer and illustrator.[3]

The original inscription on the right side of the painting, which was later cut off, read "to ride a bicycle, you can't go with your back straight."[1] The message described the attitude of the bar founders (two of whom are depicted here), that in order to make progress, you must break with tradition, as was done at Els Quatre Gats. In 1901, this painting was replaced with another large composition by Casas, entitled Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu in an Automobile, in which the tandem bicycle has given way to a car, symbolizing the new century.[1] When reproductions of the two paintings appeared in the magazine Pel & Ploma, they were referred to as The End of the 19th Century and The Beginning of the 20th Century, respectively.[4]

Ramon Casas[edit]

Main article: Ramon Casas i Carbó

Ramon Casas (Catalan pronunciation: [rəˈmoŋ ˈkazəs]) was a Catalan artist. Living through a turbulent time in the history of his native Barcelona, he was known as a portraitist, sketching and painting the intellectual, economic, and political elite of Barcelona, Paris, and beyond; he was also known for his paintings of crowd scenes ranging from the audience at a bullfight to the assembly for an execution to rioters in the Barcelona streets. His posters and postcards helped define the Modernisme art movement.

Els Quatre Gats[edit]

Main article: Els Quatre Gats

The emerging Modernisme art movement gained a center with the opening of Els Quatre Gats, a bar modeled on the Parisian café Le Chat Noir, whose founder, Rodolphe Salis, had recently died. “Four Cats” is a colloquial Catalan expression for “only a few people” and the name of Els Quatre Gats is dervived from this saying.[5] Casas largely financed the bar on the ground floor of Casa Martí, a building by Architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch on Montsió Street near the center of Barcelona; it opened on June 12, 1897 and closed in 1903 (and was later reconstructed in 1978). His partners in the enterprise were Pere Romeu, as well as Santiago Rusiñol and Miquel Utrillo. The bar organized tertulias and revolving art exhibits, including the first -man shows by Pablo Picasso; Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu on a Tandem was the most prominent piece in its permanent collection.[6]

Modernisme[edit]

Main article: Modernisme

Modernisme (Catalan pronunciation: [muðərˈnizmə], Catalan for "art nouveau") was a cultural movement associated with the search for Catalan national identity. It is often understood as an equivalent to a number of fin-de-siècle art movements, such as Art Nouveau, Jugendstil, Secessionism, and Liberty style, and was active from roughly 1888 (the First International Exhibition of Barcelona) to 1911 (the death of Joan Maragall, the most important Modernista poet). The Modernisme movement was centered on the city of Barcelona, and is best known for its architectural expression, especially the work of Antoni Gaudí, but was also significant in sculpture, poetry, theater, and painting.

Exhibition History[edit]

Year Museum or Gallery City Title Reference
1897-1900 Els Quatre Gats Barcelona
1958 Palau de la Virreina Barcelona Ramon Casas
1969 Casón del Buen Retiro Madrid El Modernismo en España
1970 Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art Barcelona El Modernismo en España
1978 Princeton University Art Museum Princeton Els Quatre Gats. Art in Barcelona around 1900 [7]
1978 Smithsonian Institution Washington, D.C. Els Quatre Gats. Art in Barcelona around 1900 [7]
1979 Palazzo Medici Riccardi Florence Picasso e dintorni. I Quattro Gatti. Il Modernismo catalano
1980 Palacio de Velázquez Madrid Cien años de cultura catalana 1880–1980
1981–1982 Saló del Tinell Barcelona Picasso i Barcelona 1881–1981
1982 Museum of Modern Art, Madrid Madrid Picasso i Barcelona 1881–1981
1982 Museu Picasso Barcelona Picasso i Barcelona 1881–1981
1982 Palau de la Virreina Barcelona Exposicion Ramon Casas
1983 Barcelona Museum of Modern Art Barcelona Els Autoretrats del Museu d'Art Modern
1984 Musée des Beaux-Arts de Bordeaux Bordeaux 50 ans d'art espagnol 1880–1936
1985–1986 Hayward Gallery London Homage to Barcelona. The city and its art 1888–1936 [8]
1987 Palau de la Virreina Barcelona Homage to Barcelona. The city and its art 1888–1936 [8]
1987 The Prefectural Museum of Modern Art Kobe Homage to Barcelona. The city and its art 1888–1936 [8]
1987 The Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura Kamakura Homage to Barcelona. The city and its art 1888–1936 [8]
1987 Museum of Fine Arts, Gifu Gifu Homage to Barcelona. The city and its art 1888–1936 [8]
1990–1991 Barcelona Museum of Modern Art Barcelona El Modernisme
1992 Palau Robert Barcelona Art i esport a Catalunya
1995–1996 Museu Picasso Barcelona Picasso i els 4 Gats. La clau de la modernitat
2001 National Art Museum of Catalonia Barcelona Ramon Casas. El pintor del moderinsme [9]
2001 Mapfre Vida Cultural Foundation Madrid Ramon Casas. El pintor del moderinsme [9]
2001 Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais Paris Paris Barcelone de Gaudi a Miró
2002 Museu Picasso Barcelona Paris Barcelona 1888–1937
2006–2007 Cleveland Museum of Art Cleveland Barcelona and Modernity: Picasso, Gaudi, Miró, and Dalí [10]
2007 Metropolitan Museum of Art New York Barcelona and Modernity: Picasso, Gaudi, Miró, and Dalí [10]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c McCully (1978), p. 64
  2. ^ Robinson et al, p.81
  3. ^ Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu on a Tandem and in an Automobile on the National Art Museum of Catalonia's YouTube channel
  4. ^ Robinson et al., p. 82
  5. ^ McCully (1978), p.16
  6. ^ Robinson et al., p.81
  7. ^ a b McCully (1978)
  8. ^ a b c d e McCully (1986)
  9. ^ a b Doñate and Mendoza (2001)
  10. ^ a b Robinson et al. (2007)

References[edit]

  • Doñate, Mercè; Mendoza, Cristina: Ramon Casas. El pintor del modernisme. MNAC. 2001. ISBN 84-8043-077-X (in Catalan)
  • McCully, M. (1978) Els Quatre Gats: Art in Barcelona around 1900. Princeton University Press, Princeton.
  • Robinson, W., Falgas, J., & Lord, C.B. (2007) Barcelona and Modernity: Picasso, Gaudi, Miró, Dalí. Cleveland Museum of Art in Association with Yale University Press, New Haven and London.

Further reading[edit]

  • Garcia, J.M. (1996) From Gaudi to Tàpies: Catalan Masters of the 20th Century. Generalitat de Catalunya, Departament de Cultura.
  • Lord, C.B. (1995) Point and Counterpoint: Ramon Casas in Paris and Barcelona 1866-1909. The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

External links[edit]