The donation by Lluís Masriera in 1932 to the Library of the Museums

Yolanda Ruiz

Lluís Masriera i Rosés (1872-1958) is one of the most well-known members of the Masriera family. He was a recognised gold and silversmith, painter, set designer and theatre director who, moreover, became so thanks to the tasks carried out in various cultural entities and institutions, a figure of reference from the cultural world of Barcelona during the first half of the 20th century.   

Lluís Masriera i Rosés, Reflected Shadows, 1920

In 1932, he made a donation of books to the Library of the Art Museums that is still conserved in the library of the museum and about which we would like to talk in this article. It is made up of some two hundred copies and includes works of major interest, both due to their rarity, as well as the fact of being unique copies in Catalonia and Spain.  In the same year, the librarian Esteve Cladellas wrote a review in the Butlletí dels Museus d’Art (vol. II, nº. 15, p.255-256).

Donation Magazines

Included here are random issues of national and foreign magazines, of which we would like to highlight:

Art, goût, beauté: feuillets de l’élégance féminine. Of this magazine, which appeared in the autumn of 1920 and contains a large number of coloured illustrations, he donated the issues corresponding to September 1921 and January 1922.

Album salón. Founded and directed by Miquel Seguí i Riera, it was notable for its numerous and beautiful pictorial reproductions, as well as its outstanding collaborators, among which there were writers and artists.  The donation is made up of seven issues from between 1901 and 1906.

Empori. The donation of this magazine, directed artistically by Joan Llimona, including issues number 7, 8 and 9 from 1908.

Forma : monthly artistic magazine. It was directed by Miquel Utrillo and was published between 1904 and 1908 in Catalan and French.  It is worth highlighting the exhaustive articles about national artists and the news related to the world of art.  Furthermore, it counts on numerous graphic reproductions in black and white, with a few in colour.  His donation was of the issues 5 to 26, inclusive, corresponding to the years 1904-1908.

Pèl & ploma. Published between 1899 and 1903 with drawings by Ramon Casas and texts by Miquel Utrillo, it is one of the most representative magazines of Catalan Modernism. Lluís Masriera donated seventy five issues from between 1899 and 1903.

We would also like to highlight the titles of some magazines about gold and silversmith work and jewellery, topics closely linked to the Masriera lineage that were part of the donation:


The lot includes monographs.  We can find the speeches read by Lluís Masriera, by his father Josep Masriera i Manovens and by other authors in various sessions held in the Acadèmia de Ciències i Arts de Barcelona.

There are also works about the industrial and decorative arts, such as the Fantaisies decoratives by Jules Auguste Habert-Dys, published in 1886 in twelve fascicles, each with four lithographs by Charles Gillot, and  Les décorations egyptiennes by Paul Marie. This block is completed with Portefeuille de Liénard : motifs inédits applicables aux arts industriels et somptuaires and the Spécimens de la décoration et de l’ornementation au XIXe siècle, works by Paul Lienard.

Other documents have in common the fact of being illustrated by well-known artists.  For example, La leyenda del Cid counts on illustrations by Josep Lluís Pellicer, El viejo marino by Gustave Doré, La vida de las flores by J.J. Grandville, and the work Dibujos y apuntes,published by la Vanguardia, in which thirty five Catalan artists collaborate.

It is worth highlighting the collection of preparatory material by Josep Masriera for the publication of the book Decorative figures, which contained a bound album and various folders with cut-out letters and others drawn.

Illustration of the preparatory volume of Decorative figures

To finish, the donation is completed with a collection of commercial catalogues from companies that were dedicated to gold and silverwork and jewellery.  But we can also find catalogues of furniture, mosaics, ironwork and other manufacturers of decorative art.  These examples represent a primary source of invaluable value and are the most outstanding contribution. There are catalogues from Catalonia and Spain, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Switzerland and the United States of America.

Commercial catalogue of Platería Espuñes (Madrid)
Commercial catalogue of Franz Mosgau (Berlin)
Commercial catalogue of B. H. Joseph & Co. (Birmingham)

Remember that all these documents can be consulted in the Library!

Related links

Pinterest with images of the donation by Lluís Masriera

File ANC1-715-T-2560  (images 97-99)

Album Salon, Digitial newspaper library of the National Library of Spain

Empori, Digital Deposit of the UAB

Forma, Archive of Antique Catalan Magazines

Pèl & Ploma, ARCA

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Yolanda Ruiz

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