The luminist school of Sitges, Maricel Museum

The luminist school consisted of a group of painters who had settled in Sitges during the last quarter of the 19th century. They shared the idea of ​​taking their easels out of the study, of ceasing to paint from memory and of seeking new forms of expression in the landscape and everyday life. As artists they shared the ideas put into practice a few years earlier by the painters of the Barbizon School, near Paris, ideas which had spread to different parts of Europe, from the painters of southern Italy to those of the Danish Skagen School.

The landscape of Sitges, the streets, the beaches, the vineyards and its people, become the protaganists of Luminism. Capturing atmospheric effects and especially the effects of light in the seaside town were the major challenges. Like the painters from the Olot School, the Luminists were well received.

Their last major group exhibition was the Sitges Fine Arts Show in 1892, the first of the five Festes Modernistes organised by Santiago Rusiñol until 1899. The luminist group, led by Joan Roig i Soler, Arcadi Mas i Fondevila, Antonio Almirall, Joaquim de Miró, Joan Soler i Casanovas, Joan Batlle Amell and Càndid Duran was then joined by Santiago Rusiñol, Ramon Casas and Eliseu Meifrèn, among others.


Sitges Station
Joan Roig i Soler, 1882, Sitges, oil on wood

The Luminist School painters were particularly interested in depicting man’s action on the environment and recording the changes that the passage of time makes on the landscape.

The subject of this painting by Joan Roig i Soler (Barcelona, ​​1852-1909) is not only the railway but also the notion of progress. In a single composition it also brings together three elements for the modernisation of Sitges, elements which the townspeople had been claiming for many years. Firstly, the railway, which had been opened the previous year, 1881. Then, across the track, a stretch of the road which had linked the town with Barcelona since 1880. And lastly, in the foreground, a telegraph pole.

Such progres was transforming the urban physiognomy.

The Corpus Christi Procession
Arcadi Mas i Fondevila, 1887, Sitges, oil on canvas.

This work by Arcadi Mas i Fondevila (Barcelona, 1852 – Sitges, 1934) depicts the moment when the procession stops in front of the Catasús family home, on Carrer de Parellades, where an altar stood. The altar had been placed there for the Corpus Christi celebrations, with the image of an ecce homo now preserved in the El Vinyet sanctuary.

The painter changed the perspective of the street and at the same time, in the foreground, added grilles that belonged to another building in Sitges: Casa Amell on Carrer de Sant Pau.

Raimon Casellas defined the work as a ’smile of colour made of flowers, incense and summer light ’.

Cau Ferrat Collection
The Cau Ferrat Collection is part of the works that entered between 1932 and the fifties of the twentieth century from donations and deposits to the Cau Ferrat Board of Trustees, as well as the works acquired later by Santiago Rusiñol associated with the content of the museum.

Many of these works are part of the permanent collection of the Maricel Museum.

The past of Sitges
An artistic tour throughout the history of Sitges.

Sitges train station (1882)
by Joan Roig i Soler

Joan Roig i Soler was the leader of the “Luminista “school. In this painting he wanted to express the signs of progress so he painted the railway and the station some month after its opening.

In the same picture we can also see the coast road that supposed a significant travelling improvement. In the same way, the telegraph post that reflects its shadow in the foreground.

The Procession of St. Bartolomew (1884)
by Felip Massó i Falp

This is one of Felip Masó most famous picture representing Saint Bartholomew’s procession, local patron saint. In particular when the popular parade headed by giants and people with wooden sticks walk to the church.

The painter placed the action in an imaginary spot where local elements, as the church, are mixed with other foreign ones, creating a space where lead two streets.

Tirano (Portrait of Salvador Robert) (1894)
by Santiago Rusiñol i Prats

Salvador Robert i Raventós was a multifaceted personality, provided with a deep sensitivity and of a great sense of humour.

Apart from his work as a barber, and his music vocation, he was also a gardener and a farmer for the last fifteen years of his life.

Rusiñol uses the grey and white palette to give the observer the portrayed soul, a look focused on the score and with a thoughtful attitude.

The Pintamones (The Daubers) (1895)
by Càndid Duran

“Pintamones” is the popular and pejorative name given to painters and the tittle which is known the humorous portrait of the group of painters that were involved in the decoration of the Cau Ferrat bar in Sitges.

Duran painted the group of artists in front of the beach, with paint brushes tied to long sticks as they were house painters, in a straight line leaded by Santiago Rusiñol, dressed in white, followed by Duran himself, Antoni Almirall, Arcadi Mas I Fondevila, Joaquim de Miró I Miquel Utrillo, they go with Love, Rusiñol’s little dog. They were leaving a white and blue paint trace in their way pouring from the buckets.

Can Falç garden (1895)
by Antoni Almirall i Romagosa

Member of the “Luminista” school, he was born in Sitges in 1860. His relationship with Joan Roig i Soler and Arcadi Mas I Fondevila, founders of the school, influenced his work of a great sensitivity of impressionist taste, as you can see in this view of the Can Falç, vegetable garden in Sitges.

Cuca (Portrait of Pere Forment) (1895)
by Santiago Rusiñol i Prats

At the end of the XIX century in some European capitals breweries changed to trending spots where artistic social lounges were organized.

In the year 1895 the transformation of the Continental Café to the Cau Ferrat brewery cannot be dissociate from the presence of the light painters in Sitges and their relation with Santiago Rusiñol.

This is the owner’s portrait, Pere Forment, known as Cuca that Rusiñol immortalize during his work.

The brewery, located in Ribera promenade, was closed in 1905.

Harvesting Malvasia (1895)
by Joaquim de Miró i Argenter

In this painting Joaquim Miró painted an everyday life scene in Sitges at the end of the XIX century, when the vineyard farming, especially malmsey, its production, commercialization and exportation was one of the bases of the local economy.

In the centre of the picture a young seated woman picking up malmsey grapes, on the skyline, behind the vineyard, we can see the line of little white house of the village, church tower and the sea.

El Greco (1898)
by Josep Reynès Gurguí

This monument devoted to El Greco symbolize the admiration that Rusiñol and other artists and intellectuals felt towards a painter seen as the personifications of the genius and of the ideal of modern artists.

Collection of Marineria Emerencià Roig i Raventós

Emerencià Roig i Raventós (Sitges, 1881 – Barcelona, ​​1935) was born in Sitges, the son of the luminous painter Joan Roig i Soler, and brother of the doctor and novelist Josep Roig i Raventós. A graduate in Pharmacy at the University of Barcelona (1906), after eleven years retiring from business due to asthma.

Roig devotes all his life to the study of the Catalan maritime heritage and the Catalan navy of the nineteenth century, doing a lot of field work with seafarers, trying to collect as much information as possible about the navigation prior to the impact that the steam engine. For maritime heritage, Roig’s work is the equivalent of what Joan Amades or Ramon Violant i Simorra represented for ethnology, or Bosch-Gimpera for archeology.

His research work is published in a series of publications and series that retain the highest interest, despite the years that have passed, including:

The increase of the transatlantic navigation (1918)
The old constructions of Blanes (1919)
The forest repopulation and the Celebration of the tree (1920)
From past sea life
Marine vocabulary from the town of Blanes
Mountain vocabulary from the village of Moyà
Sea vocabulary from the town of Sitges
Blanes maritime: historical notes (1924)
Collection of terms collected in a pottery in Blanes (1925 )
The Fishing in Catalonia (1926)
The Catalan Navy of the eight hundred (1929)

Together with Joan Amades they publish the Vocabulary of the art of navigation and fishing (1924) and the Vocabulary of fishing (1926) and, from their knowledge of lexicography, they contribute to the preparation of the General Dictionary of the language. Catalan with lists of fishing words.

In the philological field, in addition to compiling various maritime vocabularies, he is the number 1585 contributor to Mn. Antoni Maria Alcover in the composition of the Catalan-Valencian-Balearic Dictionary . In 1923 he was awarded by the Institut d’Estudis Catalans as the author of the best maritime vocabulary.

One year before his death, he published a fundamental work for the knowledge of his hometown, Sitges dels avis (1934).

The Emerencià Roig i Raventós Marineria Collection

It is given to the town hall and the town of Sitges by its brother, the doctor and novelist Josep Roig i Raventós. In 1930 it was exhibited in Barcelona, ​​in the second period of the Universal Exhibition of 1929. The terms of the donation are agreed on February 17, 1935; acceptance by the Plenum of the City Council is formalized on February 22 and announced in the Bulletin of the Art Museums of Barcelona in April 1935. The content of the donation was described in more detail in the Bulletin of October of the same year.

Installed at the Palau Maricel, with the name of Marineria Catalana Collection, it is open to the public on June 14, 1936 and remains there until 1971.It was partially reopened and for a while in 1977 on the ground floor of the Maricel Palace with entrance through the Baluard Miquel Utrillo gate.

In 1995 a new presentation of the permanent collection was inaugurated at the Maricel de Mar Museum, curated by Joan Alemany and Vicente García, divided into three rooms:

The Catalan navy of the Eight hundred.
Educational collections, nautical instruments, fishing models, manuscripts and works.
Catalan fishing navy.
The Collection is open to the public until the Maricel de Mar Museum closes in 2010 for the start of the construction project.

It is in the process of being reinstalled at the Can Llopis Romantic Museum (second half of 2015)

Description of the collection

The Emerencià Roig i Raventós Marineria Collection has about 350 objects, excluding part of the documents, manuscripts and publications deposited in the Santiago Rusiñol Popular Library.

-64 models of ships (shipyard, half-ship models, ship profiles …), including forty two complete models: the Soberano round brig ; five brigantines-schooner: Timothy III, Pepita, Maria Teresa, Soberano III and Clotilde ; the San Juan pailebot; two briquettes ( Havana and Pablo Sensat , record of the crossing of the Atlantic in 1878); the Acancia chicken; two llaguts; nine average boats: Rápido Malgrat, Montserrat, Esteban Garriga, Isabel, and others; seven longline boats; two keels; five sardine boats; a boat, a yacht, a two-masted sailboat, a bussi, a steamer, a gondola and a Venetian sandalwood, Pepilla

– Thumbnails of navigation elements.

-Elements related to navigation and life on board – octants, sailor’s boxes, pouches, nautical charts …

-26 items related to fishing.

-Representations of vessels and nautical paintings: seventeen paintings by one captain (one by Martí Alsina and five by Josep Pineda); two oils and ninety-eight drawings and watercolors by Emerencià Roig; lithographs; pictures…

– Various lithographs; pictures.

-Old ceramic tiles and pots.

-A cartoon by Emerencià Roig, by Joan J. Junceda.

-Miscellaneous magazines and newspapers.

-Numerous specimens of remains of marine flora and fauna, mainly from Blanes and Sitges.

The material kept in the Santiago Rusiñol Popular Library is highly interesting both in terms of the whole and intrinsically. There are also a number of drawings by Emerencià Roig with numerous boat drawings and a seemingly exhaustive collection of sailor votes of hermitages and Catalan churches, including ship models of the Vinyet shrine; a series of 59 drawings, plans and planes of ships, as well as other graphic and photographic documents that were not used in the initial presentation of the collection in 1936 and, as a result, never ‘have been incorporated into the collections of museums.

Cultural value, documentary value

It is a good collection on the Catalan navy for its documentary value on a world that was in the process of disappearing a hundred years ago, and which has now completely disappeared, such as traditional fishing and fishing. Roig was the forerunner and most important representative of the maritime ethnology of our country. Many of the observations he collects in his papers and articles would be impossible to retrieve at present, because there are no longer oral sources.

The result of his work is a set of drawings and paintings that reveal a precise outline and remarkable ability. Without claiming to be a true artist, and despite the limitations and specialization of the subject, the technical soundness of his work is unquestionable.

His next installation will present a strongly historical and ethnographic character, complemented by the artistic value of the objects.

The Maricel Museum, Sitges, Spain
The Maricel Museum exhibits a complete artistic route from the tenth century to realism and figuration during the first half of the twentieth century, passing through the art collections of Dr. Jesús Pérez Rosales and the Collection of Sitges, with works of great quality. The museum exhibition integrates multiple languages, techniques and artistic media in order to achieve a maximum consistency in the chronological sequence of the development of the arts.

The museum included works from the collection of Dr. Jesús Pérez-Rosales that never had been exhibited in public, acquisitions by the Sitges Heritage Association since 2012 (Ramon Casas, Miquel Utrillo, Arcadi Mas i Fondevila, Artur Carbonell i Augustí Ferrer Pino) ​​and donations from artist’s relatives (Pere Jou and Alfred Sisquella).The museum’s own collection was complemented with several works from loans and deposits from art collections of the Government of Catalonia, the Museum of the Provincial Government of Barcelona and the Montserrat Museum, primarily with artists from “Modernisme” and “Noucentisme” linked to Sitges as Ramon Casas, Joaquim Sunyer, Lola Anglada, Pere Jou and Alfred Sisquella, among others. It also emphasizes the incorporation of valuable pieces of furniture from the ancestral home of Can Falç, currently under restoration.

The visit to the Maricel Museum begins on the second floor of the building with sculptures and altarpieces belonging to the Romanesque and Gothic periods (works by Pere Serra, Master of All, Master of Maluenda, Master of Armisen, Master of Belmonte, Master of Son, Joan d’Angers, Master of Viella, the Virgin of Sant Miquel del Fai, Master of Los Balbases, Tomàs Giner and Pedro Berruguete, among others), supplemented with furniture. The Renaissance and Baroque are represented by collections of ceramics and furniture, as well as still lifes. On the first floor, in the former room of Deering, there’s an exquisite selection of paintings (Arellano) and furniture dating from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Next are works from the Neoclassic period (Vicente Lopez) and Romanticism (Esquivel, Joaquim Espalter, Marià Fortuny, Federico de Madrazo); Realism (Felip Masó, Rafael Monleón Arcadi Mas i Fondevila and young Rusiñol), the hall dedicated to the Luminist School (Joan Roig Soler, Arcadi Mas i Fondevila, Antoni Almirall, Joaquim Miro i Argenter, Joan Batlle i Amell, Joan Soler i Casanovas and Càndid Duran); “Modernisme” (Santiago Rusiñol, Ramon Casas, Josep Llimona, Miquel Utrillo), with a hall dedicated to “Modernisme” in Sitges with the paintings that decorated “Cerveseria del Cau Ferrat” (Santiago Rusiñol, Arcadi Mas i Fondevila, Joaquim de Miro, Antoni Almirall, Càndid Duran) and “Noucentisme” (Joaquim Sunyer, Pere Jou, Lola Anglada, Enric Casanovas, Ismael Smith, Xavier Nogués, Josep M. Gol, Josep Clarà, Pau Gargallo, Jaume Otero, Josep Granyer and Apel·les Fenosa, among others).