Jujol, Josep Maria

Jujol, Josep Maria
b. 1879, Tarragona; d. 1949, Barcelona
   Josep Maria Jujol, an architect and artist who worked mainly in and around Barcelona and Tarragona, is especially noted for his brilliant association with Antoni Gaudí, first as a favourite pupil and later as full-time collaborator. His own independent work remains little known, though it shows clear evidence of his individual talent.
   This is partly due to the prestige which surrounds Gaudí, but partly also because by the time Jujol was practising alone, the great period of Modernism was over, and the taste of the public had changed. Jujol remained the only significant creative architect who was trying to remain faithful to his modernist inheritance while at the same time pioneering new forms of expression. This unusual decision meant that he remained rather marginalized, being passed over for prestigious commissions and working with very limited resources, by contrast with the more lavish provision characteristic of Modernism. On the other hand, the artistic originality which Gaudí so much admired in him reached new heights precisely because of these unfavourable conditions. Richness achieved in poverty is the paradox of all Jujol's work. The fact that he was also a painter greatly influenced his creations, and artists such as Miró and Dalí recognized in him an inspirational source of the first order. Other distinctive features of Jujol's work are his liking for collage and the unusual juxtaposition of materials, the use of strong colour, reworkings of Gothic style, which often produced very complex compositions, and a passion for intervening in his capacity as an artist in his architectural constructions.
   The compositions in trencadís (a collage of pottery shards) on the famous Parc Güell and the paintings on the panelling of the Cathedral of Palma de Mallorca are the foremost results of his association with Gaudí. Notable independent works are the Torre de la Creu (1913), Can Negre (1915) and Casa Planells (1923) in Barcelona and its environs. Tarragona and the surrounding area also boast some very interesting buildings by him, the most notable being the Teatro del Patronato Obrero (Workers" Foundation Theatre) (1908), Casa Bofarull (1914), the Vistabella church (1918) and the Montferri shrine (1926). Though unjustly neglected, Jujol's work is an important legacy of the avant-garde in twentieth century art, and some of his preoccupations are found again in the conceptualist art of the 1960s.
   See also: architects; architecture
   Further reading
   - Loyer, F. (1991) L'art nauveau en Catalogne, Paris: Biblio. Arts, Le Septième Fou.
   - Moldoveanu, M. (1996) Barcelona: Architectures of Exuberance, Barcelona: Lunwerg (an overview of different periods and styles, richly illustrated with photographs by the author).
   - Jujol i Gilbert, J.M. (1989) Josep Maria Jujol, Arquitecto, 1879-1949, Barcelona: Colegio de Arquitectos de Cataluña (a collective symposium on Jujol by contemporary practitioners and scholars).

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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