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Wall Clock, from the Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain

Artist
Antoni Gaudi, Spanish, 1852–1926
Date
c.1909
Material
Gilded wood and plaster, brass, and metal
From
Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, Europe
Classification
Furniture, timepieces & measuring devices
Current Location
On View, Gallery 135
Dimensions
51 x 18 x 7 in. (129.5 x 45.7 x 17.8 cm)
Credit Line
Richard Brumbaugh Trust in memory of Richard Irving Brumbaugh and in honor of Grace Lischer Brumbaugh, and funds given by the Pulitzer Publishing Foundation, Mr. and Mrs. William R. Orthwein, the Decorative Arts Society, Mrs. Charles W. Lorenz, Mr. and Mrs. David Mesker, Roxanne H. Frank, Nancy and Kenneth Kranzberg, Mrs. Eleanor J. Moore, Jane and Warren Shapleigh, donors to the 1996 Annual Appeal; and Museum Purchase, by exchange
Rights
Public Domain
Object Number
2:1997
NOTES
This clock is one of several similar versions made for the Casa Milà apartment building in Barcelona, Spain. Like the building's undulating façade, the clock appears as a malleable mass, stretched downward by the pull of gravity. Its asymmetrical distortions create an illusion of movement: the clock could, in fact, be a commentary on time, and even on life itself. For his Casa Milà apartment building, Antoni Gaudi designed furnishings, ceramic floor tiles, and wrought-iron window grilles in addition to clocks that complement his sculptural treatment of the building. Many of these forms were inspired by aquatic themes. Unlike some of his contemporaries, Gaudi did not copy nature but sought its essence.
c.1909 -
Pere and Rosario Milà, Barcelona, Spain [1]

mid-1960s–late 1970s
Pedro Uhart, Paris, France (formerly Barcelona) [2]

late 1970s - January 1997
Allan Stone Gallery, New York, NY, USA, purchased from Pedro Uhart [3]

1997 -
Saint Louis Art Museum, purchased from Allan Stone Gallery [4]

Notes:
[1] This clock is one of three or four similar wall clocks designed by Gaudi specifically for the Casa Milà, a large apartment commissioned by Pere and Rosario Milà, and constructed between 1906 and 1910. The owners moved into their apartment in late 1911. Pere and Rosario Milà did not like the interiors created by Gaudi and after his death in June 1926, they disposed of many of the furnishings and remodeled the interior spaces in a more traditional manner. It is possible, though not documented, that they removed the clocks from the apartment at this time. [Daniel Giralt-Miracle, Carlos Flores, Josep Maria Huertas, "La Pedrera: Architecture and History," Barcelona: Caixu Catalunya, 1999. p. 197-199.]

[2] Pedro Uhart, an artist and collector, was in Barcelona in the mid-1960s and acquired a large collection of Gaudi works [Pierre Thiébaut, "Gaudi: Visionary Architect." English translation. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2002.]

[3] Allan Stone began collecting Gaudi pieces in the 1970s, primarily if not exclusively from Pedro Uhart; by 1997, he had acquired between 35-40 pieces. His gallery held an exhibit in the late 1980s and another in January 1997, at which this clock was featured. ["The New York Times Sunday," January 5, 1997, p 40, copy in SLAM document files].

[4] Minutes of the Collections Committee of the Board of Trustees, Saint Louis Art Museum, February 27, 1997
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