Cirici Pellicer, Alexandre

Cirici Pellicer, Alexandre
b. 1914, Barcelona; d. 1983, Barcelona
   Art historian
   Cirici was a man of exceptional talent and intellectual energy, who brought new ideas to the world of art and design, insisting always on their social relevance and application. Originally intending to study architecture, Cirici's career was cut short by the Civil War, after which he had to go into exile in Montpellier. He attempted to further his architectural career in Paris, but had to leave after the German occupation. He returned to Barcelona in 1941 but was unable to continue his studies because of his political activities before the war, having been a founder member of ADLAN (Amics de l'art nou— Friends of Contemporary Art) and JEREC (Joven-tuts d'esquerra republicana de l'Estat català— Catalan Left Republican Youth). In the 1940s he began to publish books relating art to science, culture and lifestyle. His first important contribution Picasso want Picasso gave recognition to Picasso while he was still disapproved of by the Franco government. Cirici organized resistance movements, MSC (Moviment socialista de Catalunya—Catalan Socialist Movement), and contributed to magazines, such as Algol and Ariel, identifying Catalan Modernism as the first unifying cultural event of Catalonia. In 1949 he founded Club 49 with Joan Prats, which was like ADLAN before the war. In the same year he published El surrealismo (Surrealism), Miró y la imagination (Miró and the Imagination) and Arquitectura del siglo XX (Twentieth-Century Architecture).
   In the 1950s his own publishing enterprise ZEN reflected his interest in oriental philosophy. He published La Sagrada Familia de Gaudí Barcelona (Gaudí"s Church of the Holy Family), and set up the Museum of Contemporary Art. Three important works appeared in the late 1950s: La arquitectura catalana (Catalan Architecture), La escultura catalana (Catalan Sculpture), and La pintura catalana (Catalan Painting), providing the first synthesis of Catalan art from prehistory to the present day.
   By the 1960s he had merged FAD (Foment de les arts decoratives—Society for the Encouragement of Decorative Arts) with ADI (Agrupació de disseny industrial—Industrial Design Group), to form ADIFAD. The teaching branch of this enterprise, where Cirici taught design, was called ELISAVA, after a medieval Catalan artist who made the first known work of applied art. He became a member of AICA (Associació interna-cional de critics d'art— International Association of Art Critics) and was eventually elected its President, thus marking his worldwide reputation as an art critic. He published Art i societat (Art and Society), stressing that modern art embraced a new way of thinking, to combat the past.
   Always open to new ideas Cirici taught courses in visual semiotics and artistic codes at the University of Barcelona, where he became a professor. He was thrice elected senator for the Catalan Socialist Party (Partit dels Socialistes de Catalunya), in recognition of his lifelong battle for the Catalan people, socialist principles and the importance of art in everyday life.
   Further reading
   - Badia i Margarit, A. (ed.) (1984) Homenatge de Catalunya a Alexandre Cirici, Barcelona: Universitat de Barcelona (biographical details and a lively collection of essays).
   - Gaya Nuño, J.A. (1975) Historia de la crítica de arte en España, Madrid: Ibérico (acknowledgement of Cirici's contribution to art history).
   - Homage to Cirici (1983) Serra d'Or vol. 25, Barcelona: Abadia de Montserrat (entire volume in praise of Cirici).
   HELEN OPPENHEIMER

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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