The name Carles Casagemas i Coll is frequently cited in relation to other artists, and particularly to Pablo Picasso, yet only one monographic exhibition of the painter and writer's work has ever been held—in 1979 at the Galeria Daedalus in Barcelona. His suicide at the age of 21 created a myth around the artist that conditioned the way his work is viewed and has, to a certain extent, outshone the artist himself.
Born in Barcelona in 1880, Casagemas was best known for his friendship with Picasso. They were constant companions during their formative years and moved to Paris together in 1901. It was here that Casagemas shot himself, apparently the result of an unrequited love. His death had an enormous impact of the young Picasso and is thought to have been part of the impetus of Picasso's melancholy Blue Period. The aim of this exhibition is to move beyond the myth and confirm the artist's place in national and international art history for his skill and sensibility.
This exhibition includes most of the small number of surviving paintings by the artist. Many are pastels and water paintings, but there are also several landscapes in oil. The artist's sombre character seems reflected in the portraits, which include the occasional humorous caricature but mostly depict the misery of society's old, infirm or outcasts.