A Stage For Sensuality | Entertainment | The USA Print – THE USA PRINT


This is also a house that knows how to take care of itself, another dwelling with a humble façade, an unadorned membrane that, like a curtain, hides one of the most fascinating settings in Barcelona.

The story that has been performed there since the end of the 19th century unites two men and a woman. All three are artists, bohemians and hedonists, elegant and sophisticated.

The first is the painter Modest Urgell, a modern romantic who painted twilight horizons charged with mystery and solitude. He bought the house and raised a floor to install his study in a large room with a skylight and views of an interior patio.

Urgell and Pomés share mysteries, atmospheres and good framing

The second is Àurea de Sarrà, a dancer who at the beginning of the 20th century triumphed in Cairo and Athens, dancing in the theater of Dionysus, at the foot of the Acropolis. Her Hellenistic classicism, highly appreciated by Noucentisme, earned her the contempt of Salvador Dalí, who in 1928 harshly criticized her in the Manifest Groc a text against Catalan art that was most applauded at that time.

Áurea de Sarrà danced barefoot on the wooden floor of Urgell’s studio, which she rented for a few years after the painter’s death.

The studio house of Leopoldo Pomés


Leopoldo Pomés would have loved to photograph her, but he entered the scene when she had already left. He too would have liked very much to meet Urgell. She was not only his head painter but also a vital reference.

Urgell and Pomés were tall, corpulent and somewhat gangly men. Their manes were bushy and their hands were broad. His appetite for life, insatiable.

In 1959, Leopoldo bought the house located at number 22 Aulèstia i Pijoan street, in Gràcia, without knowing that it had been Urgell’s studio. He entrusted the reform to his architect friends Federico Correa, Alfonso Milá and Óscar Tusquets. The large room on the first floor was covered in white. The wooden floor on which Urgell painted and Àurea danced was maintained and is still the same today.

The studio house of Leopoldo Pomés


A century later, several of Urgell’s canvases returned to the studio where they were born. The largest dominates the room. Its artistic and sentimental value is incalculable, but its economic value is far below that of the frame of the modernist cabinetmaker Gaspar Homar. The art market can be as callous as the energy market.

With Leopoldo, the house was filled with spotlights and models. It was a workplace that only later became a home.

The portrait exhibition he did at the Galerías Layetanas in Barcelona in 1955 set the course for a life dedicated to photography and advertising. His gaze was capable of reaching the core of people, even if they were in a public place and passed by in front of the camera.

Pomés earned his salary with advertising. He broke moral molds. To advertise the first women’s swimsuit from the Meyba brand, he put a model on a horse. She repeated the theme in 1964 with brandy Terry. The model rode naked, her hair covering her breasts. As Manuel Vázquez Montalbán wrote, Leopoldo Pomés eroticized a Spain that at that time was “a man’s thing”, as Terry’s ad said.

The opening ceremony of the 1982 World Cup was planned in this room and the Freixenet bubbles, with their long legs from Music Hall, congratulated Christmas.

When Pomés bought the house, he did not know that it had been Urgell’s workshop, his head painter

Leopoldo made more than 3,000 advertisements and dozens of documentaries, but his greatest passion, the one that set him free, was artistic photography, in black and white; the world defined in the wide pantone of greys.

Next to Urgell’s oil paintings, hang some of his most iconic photographs. There are, for example, the children sitting between the cart wheels to watch a bullfight in La Algaba (Seville, 1957) and one of the warriors that Gaudí placed on the roof of La Pedrera and that Pomés photographed for a book by Joan perucho. In front of them, on the table, a baroque man abducts a muse.

Four years ago Leopoldo died, but his house continues to be his study and the headquarters of his archive. The management of the legacy falls to his daughter Juliet, a responsibility that confirms the enormous contribution to culture that artists’ wives make.

Pomés was also a gourmet. He not only liked to cook, but he founded two restaurants, one white, the Flash Flash, and the other green, the Giardinetto, two colors that mark the interior and exterior of the house of Aulèstia i Pijoan.

The kitchen is in full view, separated from the dining room by an island with high stools. Nobody cooks alone in Leopoldo’s house, a great host, as expert in light as in tomato bread.

While Àurea dances classical Greek dances in silk robes, Modest and Leopoldo share mysteries, atmospheres and horizons, the love for good framing.

Chance has brought the three together in a room that is a stage. Everything is exposed and everything is sensual, of a happiness as simple and deep as bread with oil. Through the open windows that overlook the interior patio comes the sound of a small fountain next to the pool. Some ghost sucks his fingers and puts a crystal glass to his lips.

artist houses


Juan Marse


Olga Sakharov


Vazquez Montalban


Antoni Tapies


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