Sunday, December 4

Three unpublished textile pieces by Gaudí discovered

The Palma City Council has presented this Monday three unknown pieces by the Catalan artist Antonio Gaudí: two were in the monastery of Santa Elisabet (better known as Sant Jeroni) in the Balearic capital and another is a tapestry that belonged to the collection of Guillem Puigserver Munar , priest of Algaida (Mallorca).

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“We are facing an extraordinary event of great cultural value and we are very excited that the City Council has contributed to making such relevant pieces known”, indicated the Deputy Mayor for Culture and Social Welfare, Antoni Noguera.

These three unpublished pieces and others that form part of the collection of the Monastery of Santa Elisabet can be seen at the Can Balaguer Cultural Center (in Palma), which houses the exhibition ‘Gaudí i les 40 hores’. The exhibition can be visited between November 25, 2022 and February 28, 2023.

The discovery of these unknown works occurred in the Monastery of San Jerónimo, in 2016, during the inventory process of the convent’s collection. Pere Terrasa, curator and restorer of cultural assets, identified two pieces in the sacristy that, due to their technical and formal characteristics, diverged from the rest of the elements that make up the collection.

The finding was two tapestries with the anagrams of Christ, made with corduroy, velvet, embroidered parts, and mounted on a canvas. These garments were used at the time of the Forty Hours celebration and their importance lies in the fact that, recently, they have revealed a little-known facet of Gaudí: that of textile design.

The authorship of these pieces has been documented thanks to the publication ‘Antonio Gaudí. My itinerary with the architect’, by Joan Matamala Flotats (published in 1960), which describes in detail the collaboration, at the beginning of 1912, of the Catalan architect with the nuns of Sant Jeroni to renew the tapestries that were used on the days of the Liturgy of the Forty Hours. To these two pieces is added a tapestry that belonged to the collection of Guillem Puigserver Munar, priest of Algaida, and that was part of the same project.

From the Department of Culture, and given the relevance of this heritage milestone, the Monastery of Santa Elisabet has been commissioned to produce an exhibition of these materials, curated by Maria Garganté, art historian and member of the Artistic Advisory Commission of the Temple of the Sagrada Familia, and Pere Terrasa himself.

In addition, other pieces belonging to the monastery’s collection will be included and will serve to contextualize the Gaudinian project. For this, the ephemeral, or semi-ephemeral, assembly that took place in the convent of San Jerónimo for 40 hours, of which there are photographs from the first half of the 20th century, will be presented.

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