Josep Puig i Cadafalch
was a multi-faceted architect, art historian, politician and archaeologist. His career influenced the cultural and political history of Catalonia during the final years of the 19th and the first half of the 20th centuries, a period that encompassed both Modernisme and Noucentisme
He was born in Mataró in 1867. After studying architecture and the exact sciences he worked as a municipal architect in Mataró and went on to design a large number of architectural works
throughout Catalonia, especially in Barcelona and the Maresme coastal district, of which Mataró is the capital. Notable works in Barcelona include the Casa Martí–Els Quatre Gats
, Casa Macaya, Casa Trinxet–now demolished–, the former Casarramona textile factory
, now the premises of CaixaForum–, the ionic columns with capitals at the foot of Montjuïc, which evoke the four bars of the senyera
, the flag of Catalonia, and the Casa de les Punxes, his most well-known work. He also designed the Casa Coll i Regàs in Mataró–it was his summer residence–and the Cros dels Garí country house in Argentona. He also built the famous Codorniu cellars in Sant Sadurní d’Anoia.
As well as architecture Puig i Cadafalch also specialised in the study of European and Catalan Romanesque art
, a subject on which he published many books and lectured at schools and universities throughout Europe and North America. Amongst the most important of these publications are L’arquitectura romànica a Catalunya
, La geografia i els orígens del primer art romànic
and L’escultura romànica a Catalunya
. He promoted and directed the excavations at Empúries
(1908 - 1923). In 1907 he founded the Institut d’Estudis Catalans
, which he later presided. During the Franco dictatorship he clandestinely encouraged the recovery of this institution.
Puig i Cadafalch was also an outstanding pro-Catalan politician. He was aligned with the conservative Lliga Regionalista and it was in this capacity that he held various positions of government responsibility. He was elected to Barcelona City Council (1901-1905), member of the Spanish Cortes (1907-1909), provincial member for Barcelona and president of the Mancomunitat de Catalunya
, or Commonwealth of Catalonia, from the death Enric Prat de la Riba until the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera (1917-1923), whereupon he gave up his governmental responsibilities and his political career was sidelined. In 1936, with the revolutionary events at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War, he was forced into exile in France and, upon his return in 1942, was prohibited from practicing as an architect again by the Franco regime. He continued his research into Romanesque art and promoted pro-Catalan, and often almost clandestine, literary and cultural events
until his death in 1956.