The 1960s Rediscovery of Antoni Gaudí

Today, Antoni Gaudí is unquestionably perceived as an architectural giant—seven of his works are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and after an unlikely decades-long campaign for sainthood the legendary architect could be beatified in 2016—but interestingly, this wasn’t always the case. Martin Filler explored the Spanish Catalan architect’s legacy in a piece for the New York Review of Books. According to  Filler, Gaudí languished in critical limbo for three decades after his 1926 death. It wasn’t until the 1960s that popular opinion began to shift:

Although the Expressionists and Surrealists had esteemed Gaudí as a fellow visionary, popular attitudes began to change dramatically in the 1960s, a decade of worldwide social and cultural ferment that made Gaudí’s work speak to a young generation alert to imaginative and expressive qualities long dismissed as pathologically bizarre, especially in architecture. Indeed, there is something almost psychedelic in his freewheeling aesthetic, characterized by distorted forms, propulsive patterns, kaleidoscopic colors, and quirky materials. The rediscovery of Art Nouveau during the 1960s carried Gaudí along with other newfound fin de siècle heroes of the burgeoning counterculture, including Aubrey Beardsley, Alphonse Mucha, and Louis Comfort Tiffany.

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