‘The sculptor Gustau Violet: art, thought and territory’

6 July 2018 to 21 October 2018

Maricel Museum (Sitges)

Timetable: Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Curators: Ignasi Domènech i Ester Barón

Organized: Museums of Sitges, with the collaboration of the City Council of Sitges, the Diputació de Barcelona and the Generalitat de Catalunya

Prices: 5 - € 10 (joint ticket to visit the Cau Ferrat and the Maricel Museum)

Check all the works of exhibition


The Museums of Sitges recover and vindicate the work and status of a cross-border artist, the sculptor Gustau Violet (Tuïr, 1873 - Perpignan, 1952), with a complete exhibition that brings together 104 pieces of his and contemporary authors in the Maricel Museum until October 21st. The exhibition the sculptor Gustau Violet: art, thought and territory allows us to present a vision of its advanced and modern creativity, as well as its gaze in the territory, which was crucial in the outline of its work. The exhibition is organized by Museums of Sitges, with the collaboration of the City Council of Sitges, the Generalitat de Catalunya and the Diputació de Barcelona. His curators are Ignasi Domènech , head of collections of the Museums of Sitges, and the historian of art Ester Barón.

The exhibition Gustau Violet: art, thought and territory shows the relationship between the artists of the Rosselló and the Principality at the beginning of the 20th century, from the figure of Violet himself, who acted as a common nexus and path of influence. Violet represented modernity and links with the territory at the same time, as an introducer   of some   Aesthetic ideas that gave shape to a plastic art that was advanced to that of Noucentisme, the vindication of an art based on traditional forms and the integration into the same cultural corpus of the Catalunyes of the North and the South.

Having completed his studies in Paris, he briefly worked as an architect and participated as a sculptor in 1903 and 1907 as a sculptor at various exhibitions at the Salon des Artistes and the Salon d'Autome, from which he began to be recognized by the critics. Distanced from the aesthetic canons of Rodin, he did not find his fit in the art circuits of the French capital and soon (in 1903) he returned to Roussillon, where he established strong ties with people, culture, landscape and traditions of northern Catalonia, without losing its ties with Paris. In 1907 he published a manifesto in defense of regional art, where he held as an art based on his people, landscape and traditions.

The exhibition The sculptor Gustau Violet: art, thought and territory presents works never seen before in the Principality and offers a picture of the modernity that represented the sculpture of Violet in the context of the Rossellonian art of its time. At the beginning of the century, Rosselló became a true laboratory of artistic experimentation in which Gustau Violet played a key role, but also had other important elements, such as the arrival of Henri Matisse in Cotlliure, the Invitation by Aristides Maillol to artists from different cultures in Banyuls, the birth of Fauvism or the imminent appearance of Ceret as the birthplace of Cubism.

The exhibition presented by the Maricel Museum is the most complete sample of the Rossellonian art from the beginning of the 20th century seen in Catalonia since Miquel Utrillo organized in Sala Parés de Barcelona in 1905 the Exhibition of Artists from Rosselló . In the Sitges exhibition, the works of Gustau Violet coexist with others of Artistides Maillol, Paul Gauguin, Manolo Hugué, Esteve Terrús, Lluís Bausil, Marcel Giri or George-Daniel de Monfreid, among others.

The exhibition The sculptor Gustau Violet: art, thought and territory presents 104 works from different collections, such as the Musee d'Art et d'Histoire de Narbonne, the National Museum of Art of Catalonia (MNAC), the Barcelona Design Museum, the Art Museum of Sabadell, the Museu d'Art Jaume Morera (Lleida), the Museu Terrús d'Elna, the Library - Museu Víctor Balaguer de Vilanova i la Geltrú and the same Cau Ferrat and Museu de Maricel, among others. The sample has also received loans from archives, libraries, art galleries and private collections. Both curators, Ignasi Domènech and Ester Baron, have carried out an intense research task, which has led to the unveiling of unknown works, which are now added to the Maricel Museum.



Catalog   The sculptor  Gustau Violet: art, thought and territory

Edit: Sitges Heritage Consortium, 2018

Coordination: Ignasi Domènech

Texts: Ester Barón, August Bover, Ignasi Doménech and Eric Forcada

Supporting documentation Carme Camps and Elisenda Casanova


Gustau Violet

Gustau Violet (Tuïr, 1873 - Perpignan, 1952) studied architecture at the Beaux-Arts Academy in Paris, although he mainly worked as a sculptor. He explored, however, other artistic disciplines, such as illustration, forge, ceramic creation, furniture design, as well as translation and writing.

Gustau Violet was one of the most important emerging sculptors in Paris in the early twentieth century and, at the same time, was one of the most committed and meaningful artists with Catalan culture in Roussillon. He worked stone, marble, copper and clay. His work is featured in prominent French and Catalan museums, but also in public spaces, such as the monument -wrought sculpture, mosaic and wrought iron- which rose to Perpignan in 1924 in tribute to the people who had fallen into World War I , as well as other sculptural decorations at the Superior School of Perpignan. He was also the creator, together with the sculptor Miquel Paredes, of the monuments to the dead of the Great War in Tuïr, Collioure, Sant Llorenç de Cerdans and Prada.

Violet, who rarely signed his works, was a great supporter of the anonymity of the craftsmanship and the creation of an art for all. In this sense, most of his works were serial, with a limited number of copies. His terracotta figures with patina were inspired by field work and peasant life and represented the popular types of Rosselló, Cerdanya and Conflent.

A connoisseur of Catalan dramaturgy, he promoted the theater of nature in Roussillon and translated into French The Gray People of Santiago Rusiñol, with whom he shared experiences and artistic exchanges, such as a trip to La Mancha in 1905 to commemorate the three hundredth anniversary of Don Quixote or the exhibition at Galerie Goerges Pêtit in Paris (1906), where Rusiñol presented sixteen oils and Violet nineteen sculptures. He also wrote, together with Josep Sebastià Pons, La font de l'Albera , performed by Enric Morera.


Gustau Violet at the Museums of Sitges

The Museums of Sitges have four works by Gustau Violet in their collections. Santiago Rusiñol acquired two sculptures from Violeta having a Noucentista flai (The carriers of oranges and Woman combing), following the friendship that both forged at the beginning of the century. Simultaneously, Charles Deering also acquired eighteen sculptures for his collection, although they did not remain in the collection of the Palace of Maricel.

Precisely, Gustau Violet was to be the author of the sculptural decoration of the façade of Maricel, a proposal that Miquel Utrillo did to him on the occasion of the visit to the works that the Rossellonian artist made in 1914. His call to rows with the French army, as soon as the Great War erupted, made Violet stop the order that finally assumed Pere Jou.


Works by Gustau Violet at Cau Ferrat and the Museum of Maricel:

The carriers of oranges (1905), sculpture of terracotta with patina. Collection Santiago Rusiñol (Cau Ferrat)

- Woman combing (1905-11),  terracotta sculpture.with patina Collection Santiago Rusiñol (Cau Ferrat)

Miquel Utrillo receiving the Legion of Honor (1918-19), enameled ceramic vase. Collection of Dr. Jesús Pérez - Rosales (Maricel Museum)

- Bust de Juli de Carsalade du Pont, bishop of Elna (c.1905), terracotta sculpture. Maricel Collection (Maricel Museum). This work was recently acquired by the Sitges Heritage Consortium