Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu on a Tandem
|Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu on a Tandem|
|Artist||Ramon Casas i Carbó|
|Medium||Oil on canvas|
|Location||Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona|
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. 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. 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.
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." 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. 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.
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
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. 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.
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.
|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|||
|1978||Smithsonian Institution||Washington, D.C.||Els Quatre Gats. Art in Barcelona around 1900|||
|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|||
|1987||Palau de la Virreina||Barcelona||Homage to Barcelona. The city and its art 1888–1936|||
|1987||The Prefectural Museum of Modern Art||Kobe||Homage to Barcelona. The city and its art 1888–1936|||
|1987||The Museum of Modern Art, Kamakura||Kamakura||Homage to Barcelona. The city and its art 1888–1936|||
|1987||Museum of Fine Arts, Gifu||Gifu||Homage to Barcelona. The city and its art 1888–1936|||
|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|||
|2001||Mapfre Vida Cultural Foundation||Madrid||Ramon Casas. El pintor del moderinsme|||
|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|||
|2007||Metropolitan Museum of Art||New York||Barcelona and Modernity: Picasso, Gaudi, Miró, and Dalí|||
- McCully (1978), p. 64.
- Robinson et al, p. 81.
- Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu on a Tandem and In an Automobile on the National Art Museum of Catalonia's YouTube channel
- Robinson et al., p. 82.
- McCully (1978), p. 16.
- Robinson et al., p. 81.
- McCully (1978)
- McCully (1986)
- Doñate and Mendoza (2001)
- Robinson et al. (2007)
- 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.
- 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.