The Artistic Circle of Sant Lluc is an artists association founded in 1893, at the peak of Modernista splendour, that still keeps alive today the exchange of ideas and artistic practices.
Antoni Gaudí, the brothers Joan and Josep Llimona, Alexandre de Riquer and Enric Sagnier were among some of its members during their Modernista period, the heyday of which Sant Lluc was housed in premises located in Carrer Boters and later moved to Puig i Cadafalch’s Casa Martí, home to the famous Els 4 Gats bar café.
Founded in a spirit of controversy towards the most individual and politically groundbreaking bohemian artists, it represented the most moderate yet at the same time most committed wing of Modernisme. Its most prominent members adopted new avant-garde styles and the most modern foreign influences while at the same time claiming a desire to be rooted in national traditions and with a strong commitment to laying the foundations for Catalonia’s future. In this sense, Sant Lluc plays a vital role in explaining the complexity and variety of ways of understanding the art that came under the banner of Modernisme.
Sant Lluc also exemplified the stress towards the total art of Modernisme, given that its members included architects such as the aforementioned Gaudí and Sagnier, or even Josep Puig i Cadafalch; sculptors such as Josep Llimona, Miquel Blay and Eusebi Arnau; painters such as Joan Llimona and Sebastià Junyent; furniture makers such as Gaspar Homar; jewellers such as Masriera, glassmakers such as Rigalt, and ceramicists such as the Serras, to mention only those of excellence.
The association’s heritage, diminished by changes in headquarters and the Civil War, today includes emblematic works by its founders, including a banner designed by Alexandre de Riquer, a gem of embroidery, a poster also by Riquer for the IV members’ collective or a large oil painting by Joan Llimona entitled Woman Wetting Her Foot. Sant Lluc also preserves a rich collection of Art Nouveau magazines from around the world, such as Le Japon artistique, Jugend and The Studio, or the Spanish magazines Hispania and Pèl&Ploma;.