Gasch i Carreras, Sebastián

Sebastian Gasch_ul

Spanish art critic, writer and journalist. He was a contemporary and friend of Federico García Lorca.

He was born in Barcelona in 1897. He left school early and went to work. As a librarian at the Cercle Artístic de Sant Lluc he met Joan Miró, of whom he was a disciple. In 1920, he abandoned painting to devote himself to art criticism in Gaseta de les arts, among other magazines, where he made visible the avant-garde artistic movements represented by Miró, Dalí or Le Corbusier. When Dalí exhibited at the Salon d’Automne in Barcelona in 1926, Gasch praised two of his paintings as the best.

Gasch and Dalí arranged for an exhibition of Lorca’s drawings, of which the critic wrote a praising article and became Federico’s friend and confidant, establishing a copious correspondence between them.

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Gasch has left testimony of what his first meeting with Federico García Lorca was like in the summer of 1927. It was a mutual friend, the Uruguayan painter Rafael Pérez Barradas, who made the meeting possible. Gasch was not familiar with the name of the Granada-born artist, but nevertheless, he went to the meeting. He was dazzled by his personality, his talent and his sympathy. Federico gave him a copy of Songs, which he had just published, and Sebastián was impressed. In Dalí’s absence, Gasch acted as his guide through Barcelona, introducing him to Catalan artists and intellectuals. One day, at the Café Oro del Rhin, Federico showed Gasch a selection of his drawings. Gasch and Dalí convinced Dalmau, an art dealer, to organize an exhibition. The exhibition took place between June 25 and July 2, 1927. The critic wrote a laudatory article in L’amic de les arts. Gasch had immediately become his friend and confidant, and a copious correspondence between the two was established from this point on.

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In 1928, together with Salvador Dalí and Lluis Montanya, he signed the Manifest groc, the best-known manifesto of Catalan avant-gardism that Federico reproduced in the second issue of the magazine gallo. Gasch, who had signed a review on Picasso in gallo, echoed in his magazine L’amic de les arts the appearance of Granada’s magazine.

Meeting of authors of the magazine 'L'Amic de les Arts' with Federico García Lorca. Sebastián Gasch is the third from the left.
Meeting of authors of the magazine ‘L’Amic de les Arts’ with Federico García Lorca. Sebastián Gasch is the third from the left.

The relationship was even more fruitful. Lorca found space in L’amic de les arts for some of his 1928 prose poems, Submerged Swimmer and Suicide in Alejandría. The Catalan critic later stated that the poetry he liked most of Lorca was not the surrealist, but that of the Deep Song Poem. Possibly the reticence that Gasch had always had with surrealism, together with the rupture of his friendship with Dalí, had something to do with this statement. What is certain is that the relationship between the two cooled from this point on.

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In addition to art criticism, Sebastián Gasch also reviewed shows in La Publicitat or in the magazine Mirador, applying the concept of performing arts to spaces that had no prestige at the time, such as puppets or theater cafés. In L’Opinió he was a film critic.

After the Civil War he went to France until 1942. In Barcelona he spent a few weeks in prison. He soon began to collaborate in the weekly Destino. Later he worked in National Radio and continued collaborating in newspapers. His personal library has been preserved since 2018 in the Catalunya Library.

His works include Catalan Painting (1938), Dance (1946), The Circus and its Figures (1946), L`Expansió de l`art catalá al món(1953), Paris, 1940 (1956), Barcelona de nit (1957) and Les nits de Barcelona (1969).

He died in December 1980.

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