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Gaudí and Jujol


Josep M. Jujol Gibert

There are Art Genies, that, like real stars, will captivate at their admirers. This circumstance produces deformed visions of the reality, that we have good examples in some of the published studies about catalan architects Antoni Gaudí Cornet (1852-1926) and Josep M. Jujol Gibert (1879-1949).

Gaudi was 27 years older than Jujol, and when this one finished his career, in May of 1906, Gaudi had already realized the most and the best part of his work; but this doesn't mean that Jujol was Gaudí's disciple. He could be of Domenech i Montaner, through of his professional relations with Josep Font i Guma, but it knows that he had an admiration by his collegue, who manifested to his students of Architecture School in the forties. Gaudi understood very early the Jujol's genius and he appointed works of responsibility in some of his works; but they always supported each one in their own artistic universe.

Some specifications more necessaries
These two architects always supported a professional cordial relation that they only interrupted by the death of Gaudí in 1926.

Gaudí's studious have seen in Jujol a good collaborator, specially in the matter of color and architectural decoration. The admirers of Jujol, who are a lot, have wanted to see more: a change in Gaudí from the moment that Jujol began in his works.

It had said and wrote in repeated occasions that in the façade of Batllo's House in Paseo de Gracia estimates a strong influence of Jujol in the chromatic composition. It has said too that the inner doors of wood of the Batlló floor was a jujoliana work.

It doesn't suppose any undervaluation of the artistic huge value of Jujol that it shows this affirmations are totally erroneous.

Gaudí meted Jujol through of his friend Doctor Pere Santaló Castellví, assiduous ateneist. Santaló, when he see the Jujol activity as assistant of Josep Font i Gumà in the works of the Ateneo Barcelonés, in Canuda street, talked about the young of Jujol to Gaudí and he got in contact. This happened in the year 1906 and the works of Batlló house were finished, by those dates. It's clear, that Jujol can not influenced to Gaudí, because they still didn't meet.

This argument would be sufficient, but there are more. The contractor of the works of Batlló house, Josep Bayó i Font, explained, in 1970, -from this explication there are a recording tape.- that Jujol didn't stay in Batlló House, and what he made to this building, when it finished, were the models of clay for candlesticks from the oratory and after it would fused in bronze. And these models made him in the Pedrera, when it was in course of construction (1906-1912).

The circle pieces of glazed ceramic, of more bright colors, alternating with the placated glasses colored of the façade of Batlló House, it was from Mallorca, where Gaudí asked for it. Gaudí was in Mallorca since 1903, as much Jujol presence in Mallorca isn't before to 1908, when it presented the project of glazed ceramic at the bottom of the presbytery, with shields from bishops, and it didn't put till 1910.

Solutions of floor tiles from Valencia in pieces came to using Gaudi from Güell studs (1884-1887) with examples to showed up as the covers of two entrance pavilions of Park Güell (1902-1903). Joan Matamala, who knew both architects, gave up written that Jujol presence in Park Güell was later than 1907.

Another attribution to Jujol is the Pedrera balconies. Such as Bayó explained, Gaudí directed personally during seven hours the forge of one of the balconies that it was putting in the bevel, in a third floor. A photography of 1910 offers this alone balcony in the bevel. Then Gaudí ordered the forge of anothers to his collaborators, the brothers Josep and Lluís Badia, distinguished locksmithers and wroughters with he worked since Palau Guell works, in 1886, and they made the rest "alla maniera" as Italian said. Everyone would be different but similars to the original model. It is possible that Jujol controlled in some way helping the Badi brothers, but Josep Bayó denied it.

We have saying that these things doesn't go in detriment of Jujol personality, who hasn't done inspiration to Gaudí, either imitating him.

An example can illustrate anything else to see how the strength creative of Jujol hasn't done the gaudinist sources. Josep M. Jujol was an graphist expert. This technique, invented by the Italian Renaissances that it consists in two stucco capes of a different color, it was constantly using, and with great mastery, by Jujol, with his own hands, did an extraordinaries graphics of Vallmoll hermitage, Gallissà house from Barcelona and Bofarull farm from Els Pallaressos.

After that, Gaudí, with all his huge, never, neither once time, used the graphic technique, nor painted walls and domes with his own hands as Jujol made.

It's clear that the contemporary presence of the two great architects, that in some points they coincide and collaborate, but they never renounced to their own personality, without their mutual admiration that they felt made them necessary considerating to one as a master and the other as a disciple, nor more less as a disciple so outstanding will arrive to influencing in the master.

Everyone turned in their own orbit throwing a much brilliant light that nowadays it blinded who look up their works.

Gaudí, the architect of Nature Geometry; Jujol, the amazing sketcher, sculptor, painter and architect.

Juan Bassegoda i Nonell
Article published in the Temple, January-February 1992