The Modernist painting collection on display at the BMM pays homage to all the major names in the art world of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Both large and small oil paintings convey a feeling of restlessness and change at a time of immense cultural renewal. A characteristic feature of the paintings in this section is the variety of both subject and technical matters, as Modernist painting, rather than respond to certain guidelines applicable to all artists, reflects a social and historical moment which is in constant flux and change.
The artists of the time took both the customs and social events which they observed and frequented as their reference points, as well as the literary, dreamlike and symbolic aspects which Nature, that great Modernist protagonist, had provided them. This results in a highly-diverse collection, with works representative of this great artistic variety on display.
Paintings of a more realistic nature are represented by artists such as Modest Urgell, Joaquim Mir, Ramon Martí Alsina, Pere Borrell, Lluís Graner, Baldomer Galofré, Laureà Barrau, Ramon Borrell, Joan Llaverias, Josep Cusachs and Arcadi Mas i Fontdevila, whose oil paintings of landscapes and scenes from daily life throw open a window onto Catalan society and geography.
The brilliance of Bohemia and the Belle Époque are introduced in these rooms thanks to Ramon Casas, Santiago Rusiñol, Felix Mestres, Joan Cardona and Antoni Utrillo, through characters, scenes of bourgeois life and the world of entertainment, as well as portraits of society figures of the time.
Finally, more quintessentially ‘Art Nouveau’ paintings with influences of European Symbolism and the most evocative of literature can be found in paintings by Gaspar Camps, Joan Brull and Alexandre de Riquer.