Sebastià Gasch (Barcelona 1897-1980) was a journalist, art and performance arts critic who was particularly interested in creative innovation and vanguard movements. He began his career writing for the publications Gaseta de les Arts, D'Ací i d'Allà and, eventually, L'Amic de les Arts (1925-29) where, along with Salvador Dalí and Lluís Montanyà, he was a co-signatory of the Manifest Groc (Yellow Manifesto, 1928), a document that summarised his opposition to the culture of post-Noucentisme and his defence of modernity. Thenceforth, his writings would appear over more than fifty years in different publications and books, in Europe and Latin America, reassessing genres that had been previously overlooked, for example, music hall, circus, cinema, theatre and dance, and in reviews such as Hèlix, La Publicitat, Mirador, L'Opinió and La Gaceta Literaria. When the Civil War ended he went to live in Paris, returning to Barcelona in 1942. In 1946, he started writing as a journalist again, in Destino, while also promoting new trends in the plastic arts.
He published more than thirty books, notable amongst which are La pintura catalana (Catalan Painting, 1938), De la danza (On Dance, 1946), El circo y sus figuras (The Circus And Its Figures, 1946), L'expansió de l'art català al món (The Spread of Catalan Art in the World, 1953), París, 1940 (Paris, 1940, 1956), Barcelona de nit (Barcelona by Night, 1957) and Les nits de Barcelona (Barcelona Nights, 1969). He also wrote monographic studies, for example Charlie Rivel, pallasso català (Charlie Rivel, Catalan Clown, 1962) and Joan Miró (1963). Taken as a whole, his journalistic and literary oeuvre constitutes a key testimony to twentieth-century Catalan and European cultural life. Tribute was accordingly paid to his contribution on several occasions and he was awarded the Friends of the Circus Medal of Honour (1956), the Gold and Diamond Insignia of the Circus (1959), the Barcelona Provincial Council Medal of Merit (1975), and he was also named Officier de l'Ordre des Palmes Académiques of France (1960). In his honour, the Barcelona-based entity Foment de les Arts Decoratives (Promotion of Decorative Arts) has offered the Sebastià Gasch Prize for the Paratheatrical Arts since 1976.
Web page: Guillem Molla for AELC.
Trarnslation: Julie Wark.
Photographs: © Col·lecció Emili Gasch, ©Col·lecció Caritat Grau Sala i Emili Gasch, ©Galán, ©Miquel Bargalló / Toni Coll, ©Arxiu Avui.