Bohemian Barcelona, at the turn of the 20th century, had the café Els Quatre Gats
(The Four Cats) as its meeting place. Located on the ground floor of Casa Martí, a modernista building by Josep Puig i Cadafalch, from 1897, it welcomed a procession of leading intellectuals of Modernisme
The owner of the business was Pere Romeu
, who had worked as a waiter at the Le Chat Noir cabaret in Paris. He decided to open a similar business offering cheap tavern food and piano music, which was quickly adopted as a meeting place for artists
. Literary evenings, puppet and shadow shows, musical evenings, poetry readings and, above all, art exhibitions were all held here. Santiago Rusiñol, Ramon Casas, Miquel Utrillo, Ricard Opisso, Antoni Gaudí, Enric Granados, Isaac Albéniz and Lluís Millet were among its regular customers. Even a young Pablo Picasso had his first exhibition here
During the six years it was open, the place was filled with paintings and posters
made by those same customers. The most emblematic was Ramon Casas y Pere Romeu en un tàndem
(Ramon Casas and Pere Romeu on a Tandem), which Casas himself had painted. In 1901, it was replaced by another canvas with the same characters in a car. The two works can be seen at the MNAC
(National Art Museum of Catalonia).
Nowadays, it is a bar and restaurant again, and has preserved the decoration from the era, including reproductions of the two works by Casas.