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Castellers (Human Tower)

Josep Maria Sert1931

Fundación Banco Santander

Fundación Banco Santander

Despite its title, which refers to the human towers that are formed at traditional Catalan festivals, Sert did not paint a casteller here but rather a typical circus scene. Such towers of acrobats had appeared in his work since the end of World War I and are to be seen in a number of his decorative projects throughout the 1920s. It is thus one of his most recurring motifs and one that best conveys the decorative, joyful nature of his work, particularly with regard to decorative schemes for private clients. Over the years Sert was able to adapt his style to the new themes that interested him and these human towers thus appear in works with an Oriental flavor, such as The Return of the Queen of Sheba, painted for Maurice Wendel in 1924, and in his more Mediterranean compositions or his overtly Spanish ones. They also appear in works that involve markedly nationalist sentiments such as Evocations of Catalonia, painted in 1927 for his friend the Catalan lawyer and politician Francesc Cambó. Also recurrent in Sert’s iconography is another variant of this human tower comprising columns of muscular, nude men interlinked in a complex design. In general, the motif of human towers, which the artist used for its decorative value, relates to the idea of celebration and fiesta in all the compositions in which it appears.

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  • Title: Castellers (Human Tower)
  • Date Created: 1931
  • Place Part Of: Spain
  • Physical Dimensions: w1560 x h4200 mm (Complete)
  • Painter: Josep Maria Sert
  • Exhibition: Madrid, Spain
  • Credit Line: This panel is from the series Camacho’s Wedding, painted by Sert for one of the gala dining rooms in the luxurious Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York.
  • Type: Painting
  • Rights: Fundación Banco Santander, www.fundacionbancosantander.com
  • External Link: Fundación Banco Santander
  • Medium: Black and gold grisaille on canvas panel

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