Pablo Casals (El Vendrell, 1876 - Puerto Rico, 1973) was one of the greatest cellists of the 20th Century. Internationally recognized as one of the finest performers and orchestra conductors of his time. Beside his extraordinary career as a musician, Casals was always a staunch defender of peace and freedom, in an epoch shaken by war and oppression.
Pablo Casals’ intense activity never caused him to forget his links with Catalonia and with the town of his birth, El Vendrell. In 1910 he had the Villa Casals built, in Sant Salvador beach, El Vendrell, where he would return after his tours all over the world to spend the summer with family and friends. At the beginning of the 1920s, Casals established his habitual residence in Catalonia.
During this period he built up his collection of paintings and sculptures by the most renowned Catalan artists from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th. Advised by gallery owners and art critics, Casals chose the works personally after seeing them at exhibitions held by Barcelona's foremost galleries. Most of the works were acquired for the house at Sant Salvador. The coherence of the ensemble makes the collection an excellent sample of Catalan realist art.
The outcome of the Spanish Civil War obligated him to go into exile, and settle, first in France and later in San Juan de Puerto Rico, where he died in 1973 at the age of ninety-six. One year before, in 1972, Casals and his wife Marta Montañez created the Pau Casals Foundation mainly to preserve the legacy the musician had left in his native Catalonia. In 1974, one year after his death, the house was inaugurated as a museum. In 1996 it was closed to the public for extensive rebuilding and was reopened on 2 June 2001.