There are dark legends that darken further with time. These days if we were to read that a man shot his partner and then himself, we'd look at it as another in a too-long string of domestic violence cases. But when the shooter is a close friend of the great Pablo Picasso, and the artist himself, with a bit of weight on his conscience, invokes the deed as the main theme of his Blue Period, then we're no longer talking about a sordid incident, but something romantic and typical of the bohemian attitude of the time.
The legend of Carles Casagemas attracts us. Less is known about his work. Eduard Vallès, curator of the exhibition devoted to 'The Artist Beneath the Myth' has managed to isolate, or contextualise within the discourse of art history, the brief but brilliant part Casagemas played.
This show features 7 oil paintings and 31 drawings, with a total of 13 never-before-seen works. From an artist who started out with modernista symbolism and a kind of romanticism, who discovered the work of Joaquim Mir, the group of artists called 'la colla del Safrà', social criticism, Isidre Nonell's artisan 'canaille', and, in 1900, Pablo Picasso.
Casagemas was the son of a good and refined familly, with a problem when it came to the female sex. No one knows whether it was impotence, a psychological inability to relate to the opposite sex or something else, but at the time the problem was, unfortunately, quite common.
This exhibition on Casagemas showcases the talent of a postmodern artist who shone brightly, but who bore the seeds of self-destruction. His fate was always at his heels: he'd attempted suicide before, and his actions had something of a theatrical foreshadowing about them.