Rocamora Foundation, discovering the last hidden wonder in Barcelona
An Elizabethan palace in the Putxet neighborhood where you soak up art
A journey between drawings, paintings, sculptures and furniture from different countries © Rocamora Foundation
Tell the story that once was born a very curious boy named Manuel, who from an early age spent the day looking for old ceramics and collecting them at home.
When Manuel got older He decided to become a professional collector, He rented a large house to store and exhibit his personal collection and began traveling around the world in search of the most precious ceramics.
Since they were so delicate, some of them broke with the travels, so one day he decided that he would only collect things that would not break easily and especially dress. Since her mother liked clothes so much, Manuel asked her to help him and she promised that from that day on every year I would give her two dresses from her closet. And he fulfilled it.
An Elizabethan palace that houses, in addition to unique pieces, a beautiful story © Rocamora Foundation
The years went by and his collection grew larger. He managed to buy the house he had rented until then and spent the rest of his life traveling through antique dealers and auctions around the world, until he became so well known that people started looking for him to offer him his treasures and antiques.
When Manuel died, he left for written in your will that he wanted his four close friends and his favorite nephew to inherit and take care of his collection and his house, and that in it they constituted a non-profit art foundation for the whole world to enjoy. End.
Fortunately, the story does not end here, as it turns out that it really happened and happened in Spain during the 19th century. The curious child was specifically born in Barcelona in 1892 and was none other than the great Catalan collector Don Manuel Rocamora Vidal.
What was his house from 1935 to 1976, first renting it for 200 pesetas a month until he bought it - according to receipts still preserved from that time -, is now the Rocamora Foundation: an Elizabethan palace with more than 600 m² of exhibition spread over five floors - counting the roof - with marble floors, high walls, large balconies and, of course, a secret corridor.
Wherever you look: art invades every corner © Rocamora Foundation
And behind the house, a romantic garden full of huge palm trees and a pond central, located on Ballester street number 12, in the neighborhood of Putxet of the City of Barcelona.
Currently, 42 years after its creation, the Foundation is chaired by Eduardo Rocamora Trias -son of the famous favorite nephew of Don Manuel, Don Antonio Rocamora Pellicer-, and the board is completed by his mother Doña Carmen Trias Blay, his other two brothers Antonio and Tatiana Rocamora Trias and Mr. Andrés Blay Blanc.
From the 18th to the 20th century: the pieces have the most interesting stories behind © Rocamora Foundation
After visiting the whole house and interviewing its current president, we discovered that the Foundation houses a valuable artistic heritage formed by more than twenty different collections and unique pieces in the world among which stand out: the ceramics of Alcora (manufactured in the Royal Fine Earthenware and Porcelain Factory of Alcora, a real manufacture created in 1727).
Drawings, paintings, sculptures and furniture from different countries from the 18th to the 20th centuries. An entire room where many of the painter's authentic works are permanently exhibited Ramón Casas - Famous for his portraits, cartoons and paintings of the social, intellectual, economic and political elite of Barcelona, Madrid and Paris - and that with his posters and postcards contributed to shape the concept of Catalan modernism.
Also singular pieces like the original bronze model of the Christopher Columbus monument in Barcelona that indicates where America is.
The clothing covers the history of fashion from the 18th century to the 20th century © Fundación Rocamora
And of course without forgetting the original mobile construction of Els Quatre Gats (The Four Cats) by Pablo Picasso, made for the modernist tavern par excellence and of the same name - still located today in one of the small streets of the center of the city of Barcelona.
In his day, Els Quatre Gats became the place of gatherings, dinners and meetings of the main modernist artists of the time as the architect Antoni Gaudí, the sculptor Julio Gonzalez, the cartoonist Ricard Opisso, the musician Isaac Albéniz and the aforementioned Picasso, who also made there the first individual art show of his life.
The last hidden wonder of Barcelona © Rocamora Foundation
Further, The Foundation's library consists of more than 5,000 volumes that deal with topics as varied as art, literature, music or history.
And, as if that were not enough, distributed among the different rooms, we discovered curious collections of advertising claims, bow masks, cards and automatons; dozens of showcases with real china dishes; and comfortable with drawers full of perfectly preserved ancient shoes: lounge type, embroidered with silver and gold, wooden clogs, authentic Geisha footwear ...
Too a wonderful exhibition of dresses and clothing on the top floor of the house, which covers the history of fashion from the 18th century to the 20th century.
The room where the collection of advertising claims is exposed © Rocamora Foundation
During the interview we also discovered anecdotes of the most curious and unpublished told by Don Manuel's own gardener, Guillermo A., who started working for him with 14 years and still lives in Barcelona. With sympathy, but without forgetting that at that time Franco's dictatorship already existed, Guillermo A. recalls “The visits of Carrero Blanco himself to the house to visit his old friend Manuel”; or that “Don Manuel invented trips every time Carmen Polo, the dearest woman of General Franco, visited Barcelona”; or that in his famous testament "Don Manuel also left in writing that when he was buried, he was wrapped in a senyera", the Catalan flag.
The showcases house real porcelain tableware © Rocamora Foundation
Currently, the Rocamora Foundation serves as museum and exhibition hall and collaborates with other entities such as the Musée D'Orsay in Paris, the Metropolitan of New York, the MAPFRE Foundation in Madrid, the MNAC or the Picasso Museum in Barcelona, giving them some of his works for his temporary exhibitions.
It is also available to rent in weddings, business dinners, private celebrations, press presentations, cinema, TV or theater. Same as concert hall or as a study for Photo sessions.
The painting is another of the claims of the foundation © Rocamora Foundation
And how stage and recording studio where actors of the stature of Marta Etura, Luis Tosar or Imanol Arias. It has also served as a stage for the Netflix series Elisa and Marcela from the well-known film director, Isabel Coixet; or the last video clip of the British Jorja Smith, also known by some as "the Rosalia in the United Kingdom".
Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, if you are looking forward to visiting the Rocamora Foundation and getting lost among the most valuable collections of Don Manuel, and many others that have been incorporated over time, read on.
Every Thursday the Casas Singulares organization offers guided tours three times a day each time in a different language (English, Catalan and Spanish respectively). Although deep down if you think about it, when it comes to art, language is the least important, don't you think?
Strolling through the garden or sitting on the porch transports you to the past © Rocamora Foundation