The European symbolist movement, which set out to depict the hidden side of reality, the unknown and the mysterious, arrived in earnest in Catalonia in 1890.
It created tension between the artists and a middle-class society, that favoured progress and rationalism. Artists no longer wanted to portray reality, but to escape from it, go beyond it, using an idealistic, sophisticated style of art.
As a result, translations were made of European authors who upheld the ideas of symbolism, and these authors were delighted that Catalan publishers produced their books.
Publishing houses such as Montaner y Simon and Salvat, together with printing firms like Fidel Giró, Víctor Oliva, J. Thomas and others gave the Catalan book an identity of its own, one which reflected the intimist, refined style of Modernisme.
This aesthetic was also reflected in popular, didactic and educational books.
Josep Pascó i Mensa (Sant Feliu de Llobregat, Barcelona, 1855 – Barcelona, 1910)
Cover of Calendario para el año 1896, published by Henrich y Cia., 1896
Printed on book cloth
Eliseu Trenc collection.