Círculo del Liceo

The Círculo del Liceo was founded in 1847, coinciding with the inauguration of the Gran Teatre del Liceu. Since its inception, it has been a meeting place for cultural activities beyond operatic performances. It is one of the oldest active private clubs in the country.

During our tour we will visit the four rooms that are on the main floor.

The Fireplace Salon

Although its current function is that of a meeting room, it was formerly used for auditions and was known as the Piano Salon. An outstanding fireguard worked in the difficult traditional cloisonné technique fronts the fireplace. In fact, this technique is so complex that it has now fallen into disuse. The Salon is in a pre-modernist style and is the oldest room in the Circle. It houses a piano dating from approximately 1870 made by the prestigious Steinway Company.

Highlighted works:

  • Salón de descanso (The Parlour). Francesc Masriera, s.a. A depiction of the Hall of Mirrors in the Liceu with a couple flirting while the chaperone sleeps.
  • Observe also the two equestrian paintings by Josep Cusachs (Montería and Caballos – Hunting Party and Horses). Cusachs was an Army man and artist and was the official painter to King Alfonso the 13th.

The Grand Salon

Reading room and auditorium. Works by artisits such as Brull or Rusiñol, among others, are hung here. For a time it was used as a dance hall and on November 7, 1883 provided a space where those wounded in the anarchist attack that took place in the Gran Teatre del Liceu were attended.

Highlighted works:

  • Julia or "La Sargantain". Ramon Casas, 1905 Casas, Paris trained and founder of Els Quatre Gats with his friend Santiago Rusiñol, is the greatest exponent of Catalan modernism. The painter introduces us to his model, Júlia Peraire. This was the first time in the portraiture of a female figure that the subject looks directly at the viewer. She shows some disdain, sitting in an  unsettling posture. If you look at her right hand it looks more like the claw of an animal than the hand of a woman. With the dress, all the fold lines point to a very specific area of anatomy, a fact that provoked much scandal when the work was first shown.
  • La Fatigada (Fatigue). Francesc Masriera, 1894. This is the counterpoint to Julia, refined and shy. We are shown a lady at home after a dance. It pictures the exact moment after she has just removed a glove.

The Alexandre de Riquer Room.

The former cloakroom. In 1900 it was remodelled by Alexandre de Riquer in a fully modernist style.

Highlighted items:

  • It has a unique 24-hour clock.
  • The room is completely decorated, from the floor to the ceiling. The ceramic flooring is decorated with animal motifs such as the swan.
  • The wall upholstery is inspired, like the whole room, by the English Modernist movement: "Arts & Crafts", with a type of flower design strongly influenced by medieval and Renaissance art.
  • The light fittings still retain the gas taps present before the arrival of electricity.

The Rotonda

Former game and reading room. Ramon Casas was commissioned by the Circle to design this space from 1901 to 1902. The paintings displayed here were paid with the money obtained through gaming.

Highlighted items:

  • The Paintings represent subjects related directly or indirectly to music.
  • There were three theatres in Barcelona (including the Liceu) at the beginning of the century; each represented a social class (found to the right and left of the chimney).
  • In the only painting showing a Parisian scene he portrays Madeleine de Boisguillaume, who visited the Moulin Rouge and Le Chat Noir, which had in turn been been painted by Monet and Toulouse Lautrec.
  • The portrayal of women driving, smoking cigars or drinking alcohol shows that Ramon Casas is not only a “modernist” but also a “modern” painter.
  • In the picture showing some nuns singing, we notice the    lips painted in red and the detail that despite the fact that        they are singing, their mouths are closed. He wanted to   represent religious choral music.
  • He shows a perfectionism in the transparencies of the dresses and a mastery of the white palette.