The architect appears in an unpublished photo of 1924, in La Pobla de Lillet, next to the Count of Güell
The first thing is to document this unknown image of a Gaudi so little photographed, despite the fame achieved, captured in the Pobla de Lillet in 1924. The finding has been the result of a laborious task in charge of the Center d’Estudis Lillet, which has prepared a permanent exhibition in the Pobla de Lillet in homage to Güell-Gaudí.
Gaudí, with a white beard, impeccably dressed and wearing a hat, figures in the center of a triangle formed by three characters. In first term and uncovered head, Mariano Expósito, finished being named mayor of the town. On the right and with a white jacket, the Count of Güell, Juan Antonio Güell López, who in 1930 will be imposed at the head of the Mayor of Barcelona. To the left of the group, the Marquis of Ferrer-Vidal, Juan José Ferrer-Vidal Güell, vice-president of the cement company Asland.
Just behind, the apostolic administrator Valentí Comellas Santamaria, who in 1933 will be Bishop of Solsona. On the right, Dr. Filiberto Cisneros, local doctor and company Asland, together with Albert Trias, the school teacher.
Why are they there? It is on July 25, Sant Jaume, and the first stone of the chapel dedicated to the saint will be placed next to the cement, and also the first stone of the monument to Eusebi Güell Bacigalupi, first Count of Güell, patron of Gaudí. This last ceremony explains that the great architect, in spite of his badly worn 72 years and mortified by rheumatism, is in the Pobla de Lillet.
That July coincides with the 24th anniversary of the cement factory Asland, a society promoted by the Count of Güell and for geographical reasons built in Castellar de n’Hug, very close to the Pobla de Lillet. It was the first in Catalonia to produce industrial cement and the first in Spain dedicated to obtaining Portland.
It also justifies the presence of Gaudí that in 1902, parallel to the construction of the factory, the Count of Güell commissioned him to project the villa very close to the mines of Catllaràs (La Pobla de Lillet), supplying the coal that consumed the cement, with so that it would house the Asland engineers. More than a chalet, it is better to describe it as a refuge: the double curvature of its two façades, with a pointed vault that reminds in a certain way the gabled roof of the Güell del Garraf winery, was justified by the harsh winter weather, snowfall included
In that one 1902, Gaudí stayed two days in the tower of the textile manufacturer Joan Artigas Alart, near his great and prosperous industry. The owner took the opportunity to ask Gaudí to project the gardens of his house. And he did not pray: he drew a sketch, which was interpreted and carried out by a bricklayer of his complete trust, from the company of Josep Pardo Casanovas, contractor of the Park Güell, helped by local workers.
The works began in 1903 with the construction of the grotto of the Font de la Magnèsia, which gives its name to the place, and only part of the gardens that Joan Artigas Alart finished, who died in 1903. It was his son, Joan Artigas Casas, who concluded his father’s dream in 1910.
Some accused slopes facilitated an original creation, with its grotto, its gazebo, its fountains, its artificial waterfall and also its bridge of the Arcs, dated in 1907, all sorts of combinations of rocks and stones, not a few rails, stone cladding on religious and floral themes, in addition to electric lighting with colored light bulbs. He did not forget the planting of flowers, trees and shrubs, chosen by Gaudí himself at Park Güell and sent there.
The Artigas family gave these gardens to be restored in 1992 by the specialist in Gaudí and architect Joan Bassegoda Nonell, under municipal management, today well preserved and visited.
That same 1924, Gaudí attended in the Barcelona church of the Concepció to the wedding of the daughter of the industrial Artigas Alart, Carme Artigas.
Series of commemorative events
In La Pobla de Lillet, the following events will be held to commemorate the centenary of the death of Eusebi Güell Bacigalupi. Permanent Exhibition of Centenari Güell: The fantastic món del Carrilet (from June to October). 1 of July: representation of the poem Canigó de Jacint Verdaguer, according to the adaptation in prose of Artur Martorell. July 7: Brins de Verdaguer, short film. 8th and 9th of July: visit to the Ciment Museum (Castellar de n’Hug). Tour of the Ciment train to Jardins Artigas and La Pobla de Lillet. Commemorative plaque to Eusebi Güell Bacigalupi in the Font del Güell. Open day at the Centenari Güell Exhibition (La Pobla de Lillet). Screening of the film: Güell i Gaudí to La Pobla de Lillet. Organized by: Center d’Estudis Lillet and Ajuntament de la Pobla de Lillet.