The House That Knows How To Take Care Of Itself | Entertainment | The USA Print – THE USA PRINT


A garden in the Putxet, the garden of a neoclassical tower from 1900, was the paradise that Olga Sakharov and Otto Lloyd found in Barcelona. The couple were fleeing World War I when they settled in the city and some twenty years later, when they rented this house, Franco had already crushed Republican Spain.

The best years of his life were spent in this garden and in this house located at number 3 Manacor street.

Olga was a Russian from Tbilisi and Otto an Englishman from London. Her families had money. They met on Capri and lived in bohemian Paris at the beginning of the 20th century. They were painters. Together they explored the paths opened by cubism.

The international community was numerous in the Barcelona of 1916. Between Vallcarca and Putxet many intellectuals and artists rented the summer houses of the local bourgeoisie. Otto and Olga became friends, for example, with Francis Picabia who lived on Calle República Argentina.

Olga Sakharov’s Library

Miquel Gonzalez/Shooting

Otto was the nephew of Óscar Wilde and brother of the poet Arthur Cravan with whom he shared his fondness for boxing. On April 23, 1916 Cravan faced American heavyweight Jack Johnson in the Monumental bullring. The fight was rigged. Cravan came drunk to the ring and dropped to the canvas in the sixth round. He resisted the minimum that the contract required. Otto helped him to his feet and recover. The anecdote reflects the strength of the characters who ended up in Barcelona while Europe was sinking into barbarism.

Olga and Otto settled in Putxet during the republic and there they adapted to the Franco regime. The garden was his refuge. They went out little They preferred to receive their friends at home, a necklace of enlightened Catalans: Artigas, Mompou, Seix, Llimona, Masoliver, Mallol, Rebull, Viñas, Millàs, Raurell, Villà… Olga cooked and if the weather permitted they ate sitting among the terraces in the garden.

The terrain is very vertical and the vegetation is stratified. Walls and balustrades order the space. There are eucalyptus, mimosas, fainting, some palm tree at the top, vines and aspidistras. A staircase divides the garden in two, both in front and behind the house. The plants surround it and are preserved as in the days of Olga and Otto.

Olga Sakharov’s house

Miquel Gonzalez/Shooting

The Putxet house brought together the artists of the forties, people like Artigas, Mompou and Llimona

The artists of the necklace they were realistic. They did not catch the abstraction train. They felt somewhat left behind.

Olga painted without artifice, but with great formal perfection. She preferred portraits and flowers. The innocence that her canvases gave off did not deserve the support of critics. Her beauty was very delicate, too feminine for the taste of the experts. They did not appreciate Olga’s intention for her harmony, her search for purity, her effort to strip her characters of the burdens of her life.

Originally from Tbilisi, Olga Sakharov came to Barcelona with her husband Otto Lloyd fleeing the First World War. They came from Paris, they had started in cubism. Sakharov, however, found his way to her in a painting that idealized reality. Flowers and portraits were his favorite subjects.

Otto was photographing the garden. They were sensual photos, full of nostalgia and emotion. In some there were dancers and in others, a naked woman.

Otto Lloyd did not consider himself a photographer. He insisted that he was a painter even though he spent more time with the camera than with the brushes. He hoped that a museum would acquire his work and at that time photography was not considered an art. His life was not very artistic. He looked more like a merchant who was fond of speed, of motorbikes and cars, of racing in the Arrabassada.

The house has two floors on a ground floor, as well as an attic. Olga decorated it with Persian rugs and various paraphernalia that she found in the Els Encants market. She there she installed her studio, just like Otto her laboratory. They had no children, but they did have several cats and a Great Dane named dicky .

Olga Sakharov’s house

Miquel Gonzalez/Shooting

In the early fifties, Olga and Otto left the Putxet house back in the hands of its owner, Joaquima Fina, a woman from Palafrugell, a friend of Josep Pla.

The architects then came in to make reforms: Nicolau Rubió i Tudurí intervened in the garden, while Francesc Mitjans and José Antonio Coderch did it in the interior.

Eugenio d’Ors and José Vergés frequented Joaquima Fina’s gatherings

The house continued to be a magnet for the local intelligentsia. Eugeni d’Ors, Américo Castro, José Vergés and Rubió i Tudurí were regulars. They were trying to transcend the vacuum of ideas that Francoism had opened up.

The house is now occupied by Helena Rosa, Joaquima Fina’s granddaughter. The architects have restored the splendor of the first day. The interior spaces have been modernized, but the house has not lost its spirit. It remains a balcony over the city, a refuge above the noise. Helena appreciates “the inertia that she has to preserve herself.” The passage of time has not distanced it from its initial purpose as a place of recreation and contemplation. Barcelona continues at its feet, just like the sea and the sky are still struggling to share the blue background.


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