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Lluïsa Vidal i Puig

Art nouveau painter, draughtswoman and illustrator (Barcelona, 2nd April 1876–22nd October 1918)

As so often happens in history, Lluïsa Vidal i Puig isn’t as well known as her male contemporaries. She was the only woman of her day to devote herself professionally to painting and the only woman to exhibit her works at the café Els Quatre Gats. She was part of the second generation of Catalan art nouveau, or modernista, artists.

She was born into a well-off, cultured family who introduced her to art nouveau circles. She studied music with the great maestros, including Enric Granados, Isaac Albéniz and Pau Casals, and attended parties hosted by the painter and playwright, Santiago Rusiñol. She also studied in Paris.

On her return, she opened a drawing and painting school for women and contributed to a number of magazines, including Feminal, as well as illustrating stories by the leading women authors of the day, including Dolors Monserdà, Caterina Albert and Carme Karr.

Like all the prominent women of her day, Lluïsa Vidal joined Francesca Bonnemaison’s Institut de Cultura i Biblioteca Popular in 1910. She was chair of the exam board and sat on the art department’s panel of judges. She was also a member of the board of trustees for seamstresses, the Patronat d’Obreres de l’Agulla, founded by Dolors Monserdà, and the students’ and teachers’ residence “La Llar”, set up by Carme Karr.

She died aged just 42 from Spanish flu.

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