This is an oil painting by the Catalan painter Ramón Casas, one of the leading representatives of pictorial art within the Catalan Modernism movement.
In fact, although the painting is now in the Museu Nacional de Art de Catalunya, located in the upper part of the Montjuïc mountain in Barcelona, it was originally installed on the walls of the famous bar Els Quatre Gats, opened in 1897, the same year the painting was made.
Ramón Casas and Pere Romeu in tandem
The canvas introduces us to the painter himself and Pere Romeu, the manager of the bar. That indicates the bonds of friendship that united both characters. Because the truth is that this place was a meeting point for the artists who in those years lived in Barcelona, like Santiago Rusiñol, Isidre Nonell, Joaquim Mir or Manuel Martínez Hugué, better known as a sculptor as Manolo. By the way, in that place in the streets of downtown Barcelona, his first individual exhibition was held in 1900 by a young manPablo Ruiz Picasso. It was also a place where the architect Antoni Gaudí. used to go.
In short, the Quatre Gats was an emblematic venue of Catalan Modernism until it closed in 1903. Perhaps that is why this painting has become so famous, despite not beingcan be considered a masterpiece at European level. However, if you travel to Barcelona you will see that it is one of the most reproduced paintings in tourist merchandising.
And the new establishment at Els Quatre Gats is also very touristy. On the same site as the original cabaret café, today there is a restaurant bar with the same name, which was reopened in 1970. Of course, the decoration of the time has been recreated as much as possible, and of course there is still a replica of this double or tandem bike frame. Although, that same image in the year 1900 was replaced by another made by Ramón Casas himself with the same two characters, but now mounted on a car, as a symbol of entry into the new century.
Ramón Casas and Pere Romeu in a car