The first and only private museum specialising in the Modernista style of Catalonia - the Museum of Catalan Modernisme (MMCAT) - opened its doors on 20 March 2010 at 48 Carrer Balmes in Barcelona.
The collection on display was begun in the 1970s, when Fernando Pinós and María Guirao acquired their first antiques and opened the Gothsland Gallery. Their focus on Catalan Modernisme was already evident during that first decade. The collectors have worked closely with historians and often loaned works for international exhibitions that included this style. Among the events benefiting from such loans recently are the following:
- Barcelona 1900 - Van Gogh Museum (Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 2007- 2008)
- Barcelona and Modernity: Gaudí to Dalí - The Cleveland Museum of Art and The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) (Cleveland, OH, and New York, NY, USA, 2007
- 300% Spanish Design - Aichi World Expo (Aichi, Japan, 2005)
Located in the heart of the city's Eixample district, the MMCAT is housed in a Modernista building by the period's most prolific architect, Enric Sagnier (Barcelona, 1858 - 1931), to whom over 300 catalogued structures have been credited. Originally a street-level distribution point for the textile firm Fabra & Coats, the space was acquired by Gothsland Gallery in the 1980s as a place to locate services. The refurbishment process to prepare the property for the MMCAT included the preservation of the original flooring and the restoration of the Catalan-style vaulted ceiling of the basement level.
The creation of this ad hoc museum was facilitated by the process of loaning works for various exhibitions related to Modernisme, the desire of the Pinós-Guirao family to display the collection that has taken shape over the years, as well as the availability of a Modernista space at family's disposal.
On inauguration, the museum's holdings already included 350 works by 42 of the most emblematic artists of Catalan Modernisme, spanning painting, sculpture, furniture and the decorative arts. The ground floor, devoted to furniture and the applied arts, features pieces by Antoni Gaudí, Joan Busquets, Gaspar Homar and Josep Puig i Cadafalch. The lower floor displays painting and sculpture from a wider range of artists, including Gaspar Camps, Ramón Casas, Santiago Ruisiñol, Eusebi Arnau and Josep Llimona.
The MMCAT's collection has since been enriched by acquisitions made during the museum's first 100 days, with a view to rotating most of the works on display by some time in 2011 or 2012, so that visitors will have new opportunities to discover the museum and enjoy some of the jewels of Catalan Modernisme.