Throughout the 19th century, artists' ateliers were often a place with more functions than that of being a space for creation. The ateliers became veritable cenacles from where artists proclaimed their ideas and displayed their new role within the bourgeois society. They often became a tool to represent the new status of the modern artist. The Marià Fortuny atelier in Rome was a clear example of the atelier of the artist/collector, a new profile that was born in the mid-nineteenth century and that brought the painter Tomàs Moragas, Rusiñol’s teacher as of 1876, to Barcelona from Rome.
Initially, the need to obtain models to copy and be able to recreate plausible atmospheres in paintings led many artists to start collecting antique objects. This experience made them veritable specialists in the antiques they collected and that they could also restore or sell, as a complementary activity to their artistic practice.
Rusiñol, like most artist/collectors of his generation, was no longer a collector for the purpose of obtaining models. His collections, to a great extent works related to the object-oriented arts, were a declaration of his defense of craft work, of manual and anonymous work, opposite the artifice imposed by the bourgeois art market.