‘125 anys del Cau Ferrat. La construcció d’un ideal (1894-2019)’

28 November 2019 to 30 August 2020
Museu de Maricel

Exhibition 125 years Cau Ferrat. The construction of an ideal (1894-2019)

From November 28, 2019 to February 16, 2020
Maricel Museum
Carrer de Fonollar, s / n. Sitges
From Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Prices: € 5 (exhibition only), € 10 (exhibition + Cau Ferrat + Maricel Museum)

Days of open doors:
Thursday, November 28
Wednesday, December 4th
Wednesday, January 8
Wednesday, February 5th 

The Cau Ferrat museum commemorates its 125th anniversary with an exhibition that reviews its gestation under the initiative of Santiago Rusiñol, its rapid conversion into a space that is conducive to Art Total and its subsequent adaptation, forty years later, as a public museum The exhibition held at the Maricel Museum, which is titled 125 years of Cau Ferrat, the construction of an ideal (1894-2019) , is organized by Sitges Museums, curated by Ignasi Domènech and accompanied by several activities.

The arrival in Sitges, on November 4, 1894, of the two paintings of El Greco, which Santiago Rusiñol had acquired in Paris -fascinated by the artist from Crete, implies the opening of the Cau Ferrat as a workshop-house of the artist, who had landed in the town three years earlier. From the beginning, Rusiñol turned Cau Ferrat into a generator of cultural activity and in the destiny of most of his extraordinary art collection. This spirit and determination transformed Cau Ferrat and Sitges into the epicenter of Modernism.

The exhibition, 125 years of the Cau Ferrat, the construction of an ideal (1894-2019), travels at the beginning of the ensemble, when Rusiñol bought a few fishermen's houses from the Puig de Sitges and adapted them as his home-workshop. The show puts the focus on the role played by the Cau at the end of the last century, under the impulse of Rusiñol, as a generator of cultural activity that had an impact at the national level.

The exhibition presents 175 pieces from different collections, such as the National Art Museum of Catalonia, the Sabadell Museum of Art, the Amatller Institute of Hispanic Art, the Library - Archive for the Promotion of National Work, the Excursionist Center of Catalonia, and the College of Architects of Catalonia, the Photographic Archive of Barcelona or private collections. It also features pieces from the Maricel Museum and the Santiago Rusiñol Library.

125 years of Cau Ferrat, the construction of an ideal (1894-2019) brings together paintings, drawings, books, magazines, manuscript material, photographs, plans, ceramic, glass and wrought iron, among others. In addition to Santiago Rusiñol, the exhibition presents works by Ramon Casas, Ignacio Zuloaga, Darío de Regoyos, Modest Urgell, Lluís Labarta, Joaquim de Miró and Argenter, Joan Roig i Soler, Joan Batlle i Amell, Miquel Utrillo, Lluís Domènech i Montaner , Ramon Pichot, Alexandre de Riquer, Macari Oller, Eduald Canivell, Teodor Creus and Ramon Arabia. It also included the exhibition of pieces from his ancient collections, such as a female bust of the 2nd century BC or necklaces of the 6th - 3rd centuries BC.

125 years of Cau Ferrat, the construction of an ideal (1894-2019) is presented on the ground floor of the Maricel Museum, which, as in the previous exhibitions (Ramon Casas, Gustau Violet, Centenario Maricel, Fundación Mapfre and Realismes), has been conditioned to accommodate the exhibition. The visit to the exhibition can be complemented with the access to the same Cau Ferrat, in the next building.



The Cau Ferrat in Sitges is one of the most important creations of Santiago Rusiñol. Painter, collector, writer and playwright, Rusiñol brought together in his house in Sitges the various collections that he started since his adolescence and kept in the workshop that he shared with his friend and sculptor Enric Clarasó in Barcelona. This year we celebrate the one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary of the inauguration of the Cau Ferrat in Sitges. On November 4, 1894, Rusiñol, accompanied by an important delegation of the most outstanding representatives of Catalan culture, transferred two works of El Greco he had acquired shortly before in Paris.

The various activities carried out or organized by Cau converted Rusiñol's house to Sitges in the epicenter of Catalan Modernism. This exhibition aims to explain the origin of this project, its consolidation and its first reason of being: the meeting of the various collections of the painter, as a manifesto of Art Total.



Rusiñol was actively engaged since he was seventeen years in the various activities promoted by Catalan scientific excursionism. He was a member of the Catalan Association of Excursions since October 1878 and the Catalan Association of Scientific Excursions since January 1881. The two associations came together to create the Excursionist Center of Catalonia in 1891 and Rusiñol became a member again between 1905 and 1914.

Historians, architects, scholars of the language, meteorology or geography fans, painters and collectors, among others, armed with notebooks or drawing, cameras or tools to take samples and data, presented their Findings in conferences that were later published by the bulletin of the associations.

The young Rusiñol not only made and disseminated some excursions, whose narrative is the subject of the first texts published by the young hiker, but also attended many lectures given by characters of the importance of Narcís Oller, Alexandre de Riquer, Lluís Domènech and Montaner, Valentí Almirall, Jacint Verdaguer, Pompeu Fabra or Àngel Guimerà, amongst others, and they surrounded themselves with friends who shared the same hobbies, as Miquel Utrillo, who also signed up for the Catalan Association of Excursions in the year 1878.



On January 21, 1893 Rusiñol pronounced at the Ateneu Barcelonès, accompanied by some pieces of his iron collection, the conference «My old irons». The act was a true manifesto of the reason of his passion: collecting. Rusiñol presented this interest not with a nostalgic attitude of longing for the past, but as a transformative tool and an incentive for renewal at a time when quality models were needed in the absence of an aesthetic of their own in the incipient industrial production.

He also advocated the creation of collections such as his, as the only solution to the lack of a policy of safeguarding the country's heritage. According to Rusiñol, these collectors alleviated the lack of action of the State, which favored the predatory action of the international antique market on our assets.



Throughout the 19th century, the artists' workshops were often a place with more functions than being a creation space. The workshops became true genres from where the artists proclaimed their ideas and showed their new role in bourgeois society. They often became a tool for representing the new status of the modern artist. Marià Fortuny's workshop in Rome was a clear example of a collector's workshop, a new profile that was born in the mid-nineteenth century and brought to Barcelona from Rome the painter Tomàs Moragas, a teacher of Rusiñol from 1876.

At first, the need to obtain models for copying and recreating plausible atmospheres in paintings, urged many artists to begin collecting objects. This experience turned them into true specialists in the antiques they collected and that they could also be restored or sold, as an activity complementary to artistic practice.

Rusiñol, like most collecting artists of his generation, was no longer a collector to obtain models. His collections, in large part of works related to the arts of the object, were a manifesto of his defense of the artisan work, of manual and anonymous work, in the face of the artifice imposed by the market of the 'bourgeois art



Santiago Rusiñol arrived in Sitges in October 1891 and since then he maintained a relationship of great esteem with this town. Sitges had already been discovered by the artists of what is called the Luminist School, some of them, old acquaintances of the painter. In Sitges the paintings of Rusiñol were filled with color, since he left the gray and earthy colours of his previous period in Paris. But it was not only the landscape and the light that trapped the painter. The relationship of friendship and esteem with the villagers reassured him in his idea of having a house in the town.

Sitges represented a way of living very different from the urban society of the nearby Barcelona, where the ravages of industrialization had not only transformed the appearance but, above all, it created a new society that was in permanent conflict.

Sitges was a refuge, a small paradise nearby where I could paint and from where I could make the proclamations that wanted to transform art and how to approach society.



From the Cau Ferrat, in Sitges, Santiago Rusiñol has generated several activities that turned the city into the epicenter of Catalan culture of the Modernist era. One of the most important events, due to its significance, was the erection of a monument to El Greco in 1898. For Rusiñol, who had acquired two works by the painter in Paris that later transferred them to Cau Ferrat in procession, the painter believed exemplified the values of the free artist, advanced in his time, for his way of defending art and his original and revolutionary paintings.

What is truly unusual is that it was the first monument to the painter from Crete in all Spain, at a time when his work was claimed on several fronts, was erected in Sitges. Rusiñol convinced the inhabitants of Sitges to participate in a collection to pay for the monument, which was performed by the sculptor Josep Reynés. And this happened sixteen years before a monument to El Greco was erected in Toledo.

Emilia Pardo Bazán, commenting on the curious procession, wrote: "Your Magdalena [...] and your San Pedro [...] have been strolled by Sitges among the respect of a crowd that paid their respect. What did that crowd know about you, probably almost nothing; Maybe until that day they heard your strange name, but in art, as in religion, faith works miracles, and it is a tribute to the spirit what made Sitges renders to you on the word of his inspired Rusiñol”.



Sitges became, shortly after the arrival of Rusiñol to the town in the autumn of 1891 and until the end of the century, an important capital of Catalan culture and was known as the Mecca of Modernism. The five cultural events that were organized between 1892 and 1899 meant the most important aesthetic manifestations of Catalonia of the end of the century. The Modernist Festivals were five acts of agitation and affirmation that embraced all the artistic languages: painting, music, theater and poetry.

The first was an exhibition of painting with a single theme: Sitges. In the second, the following year, the Catalan version of The intruder, by the Belgian playwright Maurice Maeterlinck was released, and a Belgian symbolist music concert was performed, with works, among others, by César Franck and also by 'Enric Morera. The Third Modernist Festivals, on November 14, 1894, meant the inauguration of the Cau Ferrat, with the procession of the paintings of El Greco, the installation on the walls of Cau de las Allegories of Music, Painting and Poetry, as well as a literary contest.

The fourth, in 1897, included the premiere of an opera, The fairy , with music by Enric Morera and lyrics by Jaume Massó i Torrents, and the latter, in 1899, focused on the premiere of a work by Ignasi Iglésias and two lyrical pieces by Morera, one of them, The Joy That  Passes Away , written by Rusiñol.



Rusiñol made possible the transformation of the Cau Ferrat in a kind of temple of Total Art, where he was a priest of a new religion of art. Music and dance are also part of the artistic languages related to the Cau. Manuel de Falla composed a large part of his work Nights in the Gardens of Spain ; Enric Granados and Isaac Albéniz stayed there; Other musicians stayed and performed at the Cau, such as Enric Morera, the Belgians Ernest Chausson, Eugène Ysaye or Guillaume Guidé, where they performed, among others, works by César Franck or Erik Satie.

Santiago Rusiñol was also a great fan of classical music and we know that several performers played his piano, works by Beethoven and Bach, whom the painter was very fond of.

On the night of August 29, 1895, Rusiñol and his friends organized a curious dance performance. A dancer on a platform anchored to the sea in front of the Cau, danced the serpentine dance with the intention of emulating the dance that the famous dancer Loïe Fuller made famous. Illuminated with coloured spotlights from the windows of the Cau, the dancer danced over the water to the sound of music and surrounded by a multitude of curious spectators who had carried their boats to the edge of the platform. Others, fascinated by the show, admired it from the ground.



The Cau Ferrat collections contain some little secrets that are not exposed. As in most museums, the exhibition space is not enough to show all the collections, some of which must be preserved in the reservation rooms.

This area shows a small representation of the collections of the Museum and the collections of drawings and paintings that Rusiñol could not hang due to the lack of space. Some works have been presented in temporary exhibitions and others are the first time they are presented to the public.



A few days after the death of Rusiñol on June 14, 1931 in Aranjuez, the town of Sitges knew that was the heir to the Cau Ferrat building and its collections. The love of the painter for the town was sealed thus, definitively.

The impossibility of the Sitges City Council to pay the taxes that were derived from the acceptance of the inheritance, entailed a whole strategy oedered by  Joaquim Folch i Torres, then director of the Museum of Art of Barcelona, to achieve this. The intervention of the Generalitat of Catalonia and of various levels of the Government of the State favored an understanding according to which the debt was forgiven to the City Council in exchange for the creation of a board of trustees that had to manage the public museum, in the which had to be present the State, represented in Catalonia by the Generalitat, recently restored.

The tasks of registration and documentation of all the collections of the Museum throughout 1932, carried out by technicians led by Folch i Torres, were modem and are a unique case in the history of the Catalan museums. The Cau Ferrat was inaugurated as a public museum on April 16, 1933. 


GUIDED TOURS GENERAL PUBLIC: EXPO + CAU and brief explanation Maricel. The visit begins by explaining the exhibition, who was Rusiñol before coming to Sitges, his artistic training. Then presents the Cau Ferrat and finally, there is a brief explanation of the Maricel Museum. The visitor can see the rest of the rooms for free.

This visit gives priority to the exhibition and to the Museum of Cau Ferrat. The ensemble of Maricel is explained every Tuesday.

14.30 ENGLISH - SPANISH 15h - 15.30h CATALAN

            From Wednesday to Saturday:

            November: 29 and 30

            December: 5,6,7,11,12,13,14,18,19,20,21,27,28

            January: 2,3,4,9,10,11,15,16,17,18,22,23,24,25,29,30,31

            February: 1,6,7,8,12,13,14,15

* There will be no visits Sundays in the afternoon