Monday, August 25, 2008

Antonio Gaudi

I saw the new Woody Allen flick, "Vickie Christina Barcelona" a week or so ago. Filmed in Barcelona, the mosaic work of Spanish architect, Antonio Gaudi, (whose real name was Antoni Plàcid Guillem Gaudí i Cornet) figured prominently. I’ve not been able to stop thinking of it since, so decided to revisit it here.

Gaudi, whose work is currently experiencing a large Renaissance, represents a style that is wholly individual and fantastic. He is attributed to the art nouveau style, which flourished around the turn of the century in Europe with national characteristics and different names, and followed the idea of the synthesis of the arts and the organically asymmetrical line.

Design objects by Gaudi are very scarce and much desired in the market today. The largest number of Gaudi works in private hands are held by New York dealer and collector Allan Stone and by Chilean-born artist Pedro Uhart. Gaudi sales are rare, but Stone has held a few exhibitions at his gallery, with some items for sale, and Uhart occasionally sells works from his own collection, but only to major museums or their patrons.

Here is a brief video that shows some of Gaudi’s colorful mosaic work in Park Guell :

Please click HERE if you are unable to view the video above.

Gaudi’s mosaic style was free-flowing, asymmetrical and colorful with an indescribable visual richness. Parts of it resemble Klimpt backgrounds or intricate patchwork quilts.

Artificial mounds and hollows were created to animate the general topography of Gaudi’s architectural works.

His multi-colored mosaic lizard at the entrance to Park Guell is among his most easily recognizable mosaic work.

“Gaudí, throughout his life, studied nature's angles and curves and incorporated them into his designs. Instead of relying on geometric shapes, he mimicked the way men stand upright. The hyperboloids and paraboloids he borrowed from nature were easily reinforced by steel rods and allowed his designs to resemble elements from the environment.

Because of his rheumatism, the artist observed a strict vegetarian diet, used homeopathic drug therapy, underwent water therapy, and hiked regularly. Long walks, besides suppressing his rheumatism, further allowed him to experience nature.

Gaudí loved for his work to be created by nature as he used concrete leaves and vine windows to create his ideas for him, so his work is not just because of him but because of nature as well.”

Juan Bergós Massó
Gaudí, l'home i la obra ("Gaudí: The Man and his Work")

Michael Kaplan has written a beautifully illustrated book on Gaudi and his work at Park Guell. You may order it for $15 on

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Stacy Alexander