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Josep Maria Jujol

Gaudí's Light-hearted Collaborator

Jujol's bench in the Park Güell of the most subtle, original, unprejudiced and provocative personalities of contemporary art.Carlos Flores

Some of the Modernistas who collaborated with Gaudí were astonishing talents in their own right, especially Josep Maria Jujol i Gibert (1879–1949). Born in Tarragona, he loved to draw, and even as a child his use of form and colour attracted attention. He went on to study architecture in Barcelona where he met Domènech i Montaner.

Jujols was a great master of colour, imagination, invention, and good humour, who lightened the work of Gaudí — the roof and ceramic skin on the Casa Batlló; the medallions of broken tiles, plates, doll's heads, bottles and everything except the kitchen sink of the Sala Hipóstila and splendid serpentine bench at the Park Güell are all his and make him one of the unheralded founders of collagea and the objets trouvés movement. He designed the sublime marine-themed balconies of La Pedrera and worked on the Sagrada Família.

Jujol's Mare de Déu at Montferri

After Gaudí absent-mindedly stepped in front of a street car in 1926, Jujols was the logical man to replace him on the mighty church project, but never applied for the job. Each of his solo projects, completed before and after Gaudí's demise, are striking: including the Casa Planells (see Modernista Walk, part two), the very uncharacteristic, classical fountain centrepiece in the Plaça d'Espanya for the 1929 International Exhibition, and a pair of stunning churches: El Sagrat Cor in Vistabella and the Santuari a la Mare de Déu de Montserrat in Monferri, both located in the Penedès.

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: Alex Proimos, Jordi Roqué