Author(s): Juan Jose Lahuerta
Juan Jose Lahuerta s "Columns of Smoke" series offers bold new readings of modernity and its key figures while redefining the connections between architecture, ornamentation, and the portrayal of both in print media. The third volume focuses on the Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi (1852 1926), whose spectacular fin-de-siecle bohemian modernism stood in revolutionary contrast to the leading approaches of the day. With the rise of Le Corbusier s modern style of architecture in the early twentieth century, architects who favored ornamentation and a strong bond with nature, like Gaudi, were relegated to the sidelines. Lahuerta draws on first-hand documents, many previously unpublished, to show that Gaudi, far from being the isolated eccentric seen in other accounts, was keenly aware of the major theories and works of his time and cleverly used industrial processes to produce ornamental details that appear today to be almost handmade. Equally impressive was Gaudi s ability to capitalize on his fame once in the public eye, as both the architect and his buildings appeared in illustrations in the popular press. His influence on avant-garde artists like Salvador Dali, who admired the edible appearance of Gaudi s Casa Mila in Barcelona, and Pablo Picasso, who was fascinated by the eroticism of the Casa Batllo, attests to the architect s impact far beyond his field. Richly illustrated with rare images from a variety of sources, this highly visual take on Gaudi is also a spirited commentary on the roots of modernism more generally. Entertaining and perceptive, "Antoni Gaudi" challenges us to reconsider what we thought we knew about this pioneering architect and his distinctive work."
Juan Jose Lahuertais chief curator at the National Museum of Art of Catalonia in Barcelona and professor of the history of art at the Barcelona School of Architecture."