The Beggar´s Cathedral

Joaquim Mir i Trinxet

Mir i Trinxet, Joaquim

Barcelona, 1873 - 1940

The Beggar´s Cathedral, 1898

© Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza

Signed lower right: ''mir''
Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection on loan to the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya (MNAC).

Oil on canvas

209,3 x 253 cm

CTB.1995.33

Artwork history

  • Els Quatre Gats, Barcelona.

  • Benet Soler Collection, Barcelona.

  • Juñer Collection, Barcelona, 1904.

  • “Antesala Casa de Baños del Palacio de Ciencias”, Barcelona.

  • Private collection, Barcelona.

  • Buxeres Collection, Barcelona, July 17, 1995.

  • Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection.

1898

IV Exposición de Bellas Artes e Industrias Artísticas, Barcelona, Ayuntamiento de Barcelona, n. 215.

1899

Exposición General de Bellas Artes, Madrid, n. 501.

1971

Joaquim Mir (1873-1940). Exposición antológica, Madrid, Dirección General de Bellas Artes, n. 7.

1972

Joaquim Mir (1873-1940). Exposición antológica, Barcelona, Museo de Arte Moderno, n. 25.

1996

De Canaletto a Kandinsky. Obras maestras de la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, n. 84, p. 216.

1997

Capolavori dalla Collezione di Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza: 60º anniversario dell'apertura della Pinacotecca di Villa Favorita, Lugano, Villa Favorita, m. 99, p. 254.

1997

Del vedutismo a las primeras vanguardias. Obras maestras de la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Bilbao, Museo de Bellas Artes de Bilbao, n. 47.

1998

De Picasso a Dalí: As raízes da vanguarda espanhola (1907-1936), Lisboa, Museu do Chiado, p. 176.

1998

España fin de siglo. 1898, Madrid, Museo de Antropología; Barcelona, Centre Cultural de la Fundación ''la Caixa'' , n. 1.

1998

La pintura española del cambio de siglo en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Zaragoza, Palacio de Sástago, n. 4, p. 42.

1998

Plástica y texto en torno al 98, Madrid, Círculo de Bellas Artes.

1999 - 2000

Del impresionismo a la vanguardia en la Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Barcelona, Centre Cultural Caixa Catalunya, p. 32.

2002 - 2003

La luz del Mediterráneo del Naturalismo al Noucentisme, Barcelona, Espacio para el Arte de Caja Madrid.

2003

De Fortuny a Tàpies. Aspectes de la pintura catalana moderna dins la Col.lecció Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Barcelona, Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, pp. 42, 44, lám. p. 43, detalle p. 45.

2004

Pintura catalana del Naturalismo al Noucentisme. Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, n. 50, p. 144, lám.

2019 - 2020

Barcelona. The city of artistic miracles. The essence of the catalonian modern art from the modernisme to the avant-garde. Japan. Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum, Himeji City Museum of Art, Sapporo Art Museum, Shizuoka City Museum of Art, Tokyo Station Gallery. Cat. 4-11. p. 160-161.

  • -La Esquella de la Torratxa. Barcelona, 1 julio 1898, n. 1016, p. 437.

  • -Mélida, J. R.: ”La Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes. Artículo segundo. Pintura”. La Ilustración Española y Americana. Madrid, May 22,  1899, año XLIII, n. 19, p. 302.

  • -Casellas, R.: ”Cosas d’art. Exposiciò Mir”. La Veu de Catalunya, October 18, 1901.

  • La ilustración obrera: instrucción y amenidad. Barcelona, 1904- . (February 20, 1904), lám. & cover.

  • -Ciervo, J.: ”El colorista Joaquín Mir”. Vell i Nou. Barcelona, Editorial y Libreria de Arte, M. Bayés, October 1920, II, vol. I, n. 8, pp. 220-223.

  • -Opisso, R.: ”El pintor Joaquín Mir y su obra ‘La catedra de los pobres’ ”. El Correo Catalán. Barcelona, June 18, 1950, n. 22722, p. 6.

  • -Cirici Pellicer, A.: El arte modernista catalán. Barcelona, Aymá, 1951, p. 380.

  • L’art català. Barcelona, 1958-1961, p. 463.

  • -Cirici Pellicer, A.: ”Construcció y destrucció de Joaquim Mir”. Serra d’Or. Barcelona, August 15,  1972, n. 155 , p. 48.

  • -Fontbona, F.: La crisi del Modernisme artístic. Barcelona, Curial, 1975. Biblioteca de cultura catalana (Curial); 17, p. 120.

  • -Jardí, E.: J. Mir. Barcelona, Polígrafa, 1975. Biblioteca de Arte Hispánico, pp. 34, 36-37,40, lám.

  • -Maragall, J. A.: História de la Sala Parés. Barcelona, 1975 , p. 83, lám. 67.

  • Tierras de España. Cataluña. Madrid – Barcelona, Fundación Juan March, 1978, vol. 2, pp. 215, 221, lám.

  • -Fontbona, Francesc: El paisatgisme a Catalunya. Barcelona, Destino, 1979, pp. 164-167, lám.

  • 1881-1981. Picasso i Barcelona. [Exhib. Cat.]. Barcelona, Ayuntamiento de Barcelona, 1981, pp. 35, 117.

  • -Pons, A., Parcerisas, P. y Giralt-Miracle, D.: Homes, terres, paisatges. Barcelona, HMB, 1981, p. 82, lám.

  • -Fontbona, F.: Mir. Barcelona, Nou Art Thor, 1983. Gent nostra; 26, pp. 4-6.

  • -Fontbona, F. y Miralles, F.: Del modernisme al noucentisme 1888-1917. Barcelona, Edicions 62, 1985. Història de l’art català; 7, pp. 23, 129, lám.

  • -Jardí, E.: Joaquim Mir. 2a ed. Barcelona, Polígrafa, 1989, pp. 36, 40, 42-43, 44, lám.

  • -Mendoza, Cristina: “La pintura del Modernisme”. Barcelona 1990, vol. II, pp. 167-181, cit. p. 178.

  • El Modernisme. [Cat. exp. Barcelona, Museu d’Art Modern, 1990-1991]. 2 vols., Barcelona, Olimpíada Cultural, 1990.

  • Bozal, V.: Pintura y escultura españolas del siglo XX (1900-1939).Madrid, Espasa-Calpe, 1993. Summa Artis, historia general del arte; vol. 36, pp. 55-58, lám.

  • -Reyero, C. y Freixa, M.: Pintura y escultura en España. 1800-1910. Madrid, Cátedra, 1995, pp. 404-406, lám.

  • De Canaletto a Kandinsky. Obras maestras de la colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza. Llorens Serra, Tomàs (ed.). [Exhib. Cat. Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza]. Madrid, Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza, 1996, n. 84, p. 216. [Sheet by Francesc Fontbona].

  • -Los 98′ ibéricos y el mar: Exposición Mundial de Lisboa 1998, Pabellón de España, del 3 de agosto al 30 de septiembre. Bozal, Valeriano (ed.). [Exhib. Cat.]. Exposición Mundial de Lisboa 1998, Pabellón de España, 1998, p. 176, lám. (Sheet by Bernárdez Sanchís).

  • -Calvo Serraller, F.: Las cien mejores obras del siglo XX. Historia visual de la pintura española. Madrid, 2001, p. 14, lám.

  • -Brihuega, J.: ”La mirada herida. Violencia y crueldad en el arte español contemporáneo”. Entre la guerra y el exilio. Dibujos de Rodríguez Luna y Horacio Ferrer. [Exhib. Cat..]. Brihuega, J. y Pérez Segura, J.(ed. lit.). Córdoba, Fundación Provincial de las Artes Plásticas Rafael Botí, 2002, p. 16, lám.

  • -Fontbona, F. (ed.): El Modernisme III. Pintura i dibuix. Barcelona, Edicions L’isard, 2002, pp. 204, 205 (lám.), 212.

  • -Navarro Arisa, J. J.: Gaudí. El arquitecto de Dios. Barcelona, Planeta, 2002, lám. 19.

  • -Permanyer, L.: ”Gaudí y Barcelona”. Gaudí 2002. Miscelánea. Barcelona, Planeta – Ajuntament de Barcelona, 2002, pp. 62-63, lám.

  • -Balsach, Maria-Josep (ed.): Modernismo e Avanguardia. Picasso, Miró, Dalí e la pittura catalana. [Exhib. Cat. Cremona, Museo Civico Ala Ponzone]. Milano, Skira, 2003.

  • -Faxedas, M. L.: “Dementi, belle di notte e paessaggio catalano: pittori di fine secolo tra modernismo e noucentisme”. Cremona 2003, pp. 47-59, cit. p. 54, lám. p. 55.

  • -Mendoza, Cristina y Eduardo: Barcelona modernista. Barcelona, Seix Barral, 2003, n. 116, p. 198, lám.

  • -Carandell, Josep Maria: El templo de la Sagrada Familia. Sant Lluís (Menorca), Triangle Postals, 2004, p. 10, lám.

  • -Miralles, Francesc: “Seis variaciones sobre Joaquim Mir”. En Joaquim Mir. 1873-1940. Francesc Miralles (comisario) [Exhib. Cat. Madrid, Fundación Cultural Mapfre Vida, 2004-2005]. Madrid, Fundación Cultura Mapfre Vida, 2004, pp. 18-20, lám.

  • -Miralles, Frances: “Catálogo”. Joaquim Mir. 1873-1940. Francesc Miralles (curator) [Exhib. Cat. Madrid, Fundación Cultural Mapfre Vida, 2004-2005]. Madrid, Fundación Cultura Mapfre Vida, 2004, p. 81.

  • -Thomson, Richard: “Joaquím Mir: terreno eterno y sensibilidad modernista”.  Joaquim Mir. 1873-1940. Francesc Miralles (ed.) [Exhib. Cat.]. Madrid, Fundación Cultural Mapfre Vida, 2004, pp. 35-37, lám.

  • -Bozal, Valeriano: “‘Mitraglia contro il popolo!’. Il modernismo e la Rosa di fuoco”. Ferrara 2015, pp. 138-156, fig. 14, p. 148.

  • -Llorens, Tomàs… [et. al]: La rosa di fuoco. La Barcelona di Picasso e Gaudí. [Exhib. Cat. Ferrara, Palazzo dei Diamanti], Ferrara, Fondazione Ferrara Arte, 2015. Cat. 14, p. 148.

  • -Redescubriendo el Mediterráneo. Fundación MAPFRE, Madrid. [Exhib. Cat.], 2018. Fig. 9. p. 24.

  • -Barcelona. The city of artistic miracles. The essence of the catalonian modern art from the modernisme to the avant-garde. Japan. Nagasaki Prefectural Art Museum, Himeji City Museum of Art, Sapporo Art Museum, Shizuoka City Museum of Art, Tokyo Station Gallery. [Exhib. Cat.], Japan, 2019,  Cat. 4-11. p. 160-161.

Expert report

The Beggar´s Cathedral is Mir’s most ambitious work at the end of his «Colla del Safra»-period and was presented on its own by the artist at the IV Exhibition of Fine Arts and Artistic Industries in Barcelona in 1898. Mir, who until then was basically a young painter starting his career -although he was already some what known- became one of the clearest representatives of the new Catalan generation of artists due to the impact this work had.

The painting depicts a group of beggars that are installed near the church of the Sagrada Familia, which the architect Antoni Gaudi was constructing on the outskirts of Barcelona’s Ensanche neighbourhood. The painter had asked Gaudi’s permission to enter the construction site in order to compose his painting. Mir prepared his work conscientiously and some of its studies in drawing and in oil are known, even though the main canvas was definitely painted on location, supported by ropes and strips of wood, as the draughtsman Ricard Opisso, who was then an assistant to Gaudi, rernembers. This unusual way of painting large oils was later used again by Mir during his Majorcan period.

The painter fought with the canvas and he often swore, with which he obtained a rough touch of attention from the pious and brillant architect. «To see Mir, day after day, painting that large canvas. Opisso remembers, «was simultaneously something as- tonishing, something grandiose, unbelievable and impressive.»

 The Beggar´s Cathedral represents the height of the suburbanism of the «Colla del Safra» -the group composed of the young Catalan Postmodern painters Nonell, Canals, Pichot, Juli Vallmitjana and some others beside Mir- as well as a clear beginning of an innovating focus on color according to the tendencies in European Post-Impressionism. This is especially evident in the painting’s second plane  with the construction of Gaudi’s great work.

At the same time the work is a clear example of the social concerns that appeared in a more or less explicit manner in the work of a good part of that generation of young Catalan painters. Its title was suggested by Josep Torras i Bages, the future bishop of Vic and one of the main theoricians of Catalan Christianity who occasionally visited Gaudi.

The painting was not received as well as Mir had expected, partly due to the fact that at the Fine Arts Exhibition in Barcelona in 1898, in which it obtained a third medal, all the works present were overshadowed by Ramon Casas The Procession of Santa Maria del Mar. When the exhibition ended Mir’s work went to the legendary café Els Quatre Gats, the charismatic meeting place of Catalan Modernism, where its owner, Pere Romeu, hung it in the Neogothic room with the large fireplace until it moved on to the collection of the tailor Benet Soler, who is famous nowadays for having been portrayed several times by Picasso. In 1904 it was owned by the two Juñer brothers, one of whom was a painter and the other an art critic and who were regular visitors at Els Quatre Gats and close friends of Picasso. It was then in the reception of a bath-house that was i nstalled on the ground floor of what was then called the Royal Academy of Science on the city’s Rambla, and from there it went to a private col lector on Valencia street, close to the Passeig de Gracia. Before the Buxeres family acquired it by inheritance, in whose property it remained for at least fifty years, it had been in the attic of a countryhouse in Viladecavalls.

On the occasion of this exhibition the work, the upper part of the canvas of which was folded at an unknown date, has now recovered its original size after being restored.

Francesc Fontbona