The Neobaroque Style inPrivate Secular Architecture in Spanish and French Catalonia in the First Half of the Twentieth Century: From a Cosmopolitan to Vernacular Model

Abstract : The rediscovery of baroque was one of the components of Noucentisme in Spanish Catalonia, as shown by the interests of historiography (Eugeni d’Ors, Du baroque, 1935) as well as by the use of formal languages inspired by this tradition (school architecture in Barcelona by Josep Goday and the Coliseum theatre by Francesc de Paula Nebot, among many examples). The Noucentist phenomenon has been treated by historiography for the city of Barcelona and for most of Catalonia. In this paper we will focus on the comparative phenomenon of the neo-baroque along the border zone between France and Spain, and more specifically in the towns of Figueres and Perpignan. South of the border, the reference to baroque in private architecture represents an evolving regional cultural and ideological component. On the one hand, baroque represents a regional historical component represented within vernacular architecture – the baroque masia (peasant mansion house), for example. On the other hand, baroque is a reminder of a Mediterranean cosmopolitan tradition that embodies different ideological contexts: a statement of Catalan nationalist politics under the Mancomunitat, Hispanic rhetoric under the dictatorships (in the 1920s and after 1940) – in each case the traditional position in relation to the ideologies conveyed by modernism. The buildings and town houses by architects such as Ricard Giralt Casadesus and Joan Gumà Cueva at Figueres, among others, stand as examples of this. On the French Catalan side, the national aesthetics of the Beaux-Arts and the emergence of a Roussillon regionalism defined the framework in which a taste for baroque appeared, in a more fractioned and timid way. French ‘taste’, the Beaux-Arts aesthetics, is confirmed in the great stately architecture of Viggo Dorph Petersen. Yet the ambition of some patrons also called for the use of baroque solutions of composition or ornaments, in an eclectic approach. Simultaneously, from the beginning of the twentieth century and coinciding with Noucentisme, French Catalonia saw the emergence of aregionalist aesthetic advocated by architect and sculptor Gustave Viollet. The architectural transcription of this regionalism was late, starting in the 1930s, and took on the stylistic model of Romanesque Art. Yet the regional baroque taste was not entirely excluded from it, as the Paynard house by Pierre Sans in Perpignan illustrates. Around the neo-baroque, intellectual attitudes and identity quests converge, but differ – within their respective historical contexts on both sides of the border – due to the cultural traditions of two states and by the expectations of the patrons.
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Submitted on : Wednesday, April 24, 2019 - 5:44:16 PM
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Esteban Castaner-Munoz. The Neobaroque Style inPrivate Secular Architecture in Spanish and French Catalonia in the First Half of the Twentieth Century: From a Cosmopolitan to Vernacular Model. FIFTH INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE of the EUROPEAN ARCHITECTURAL HISTORY NETWORK, Jun 2018, Tallin, Estonia. ⟨hal-02109301⟩

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