Year 0 - Josep Guinovart i Bertran

The Countryside's Organ

The Artists’ Vineyard began with an idea by Guinovart for a land that used to be full of almonds, that we made our own and shaped. We imagined a covering of green vines waving like a pirate ship, sometimes rhythmic like the notes of a saxophone, an other times perhaps silent and promising like a blank canvas.

The Artists Vineyard is just that – a space open to the wind so that the wind talks to it by means of a countryside organ, a free place for someone with something to say can make it slightly more their own by marking it with their language. It is a forum where artistic expression mingling with the land. A poor land, full of round stones, dry: perfect for a great wine.

The Artists’ Vineyard should be a homage to the one who first imagined it: Guino, and it is to him, to our old friend, to whom we dedicated year 0, the beginning of the project to which his sculpture ‘L’Orgue del Camp’ [‘The Countryside’s Organ’] offers an eternal testimony.

"The Countryside’s Organ, an instrument so the wind can sing to the vines…"


The event of the Year 0 at the Artists' Vineyard

Josep Guinovart i Bertran

Barcelona 20th March 1927- 12th December 2007
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Josep Guinovart was born to an artisan family and worked painting walls in the family business from the age of fourteen. He spent most of the Civil War
in the Lerida village of Agramunt, where his mother was from, with his mother, grandfather, aunts and siblings, which put him in direct contact with
nature, tools and animals. After the war, specifically in 1941, he joined the Escola de Mestres Pintors, beginning a period during which he became
interested in painting outdoors around the outskirts of Barcelona, especially near Sant Genís dels Agudells. Two years later he joined the Escola d’Arts i
Oficis at carrer Aribau, where he took nocturne classes, and in 1944 is listed as a student in Escola de la Llotja.
In 1946, Guinovart concluded his studies at Escola d’Arts i Oficis and received a scholarship from Foment de les Arts Decoratives (FAD), thanks to
which he got funding for a nature-drawing course. His first works are strongly influenced by Nonell and Gimeno.
He spent the summer of 1948 back in Agramunt. That same year he presented his first individual exhibition at Gallery Syra in Barcelona. After that he
then abandoned natural realism. Towards the end of the forties and beginning of the fifties he developed connections with the group Dau al Set, in which
ambience he consolidated his ideological approach and began to consider a break from the dominant art forms unavoidable —the group becoming a
window onto the avant-garde art of Europe. He nonetheless felt disconnected from the generation of artists such as Joan Miró and their schooling.
1951 was decisive in Guinovart’s professional career; it was then that he first became fully dedicated to painting and made his firsts etchings in
illustration of the books ‘Homenaje a García Lorca’ [‘Homage to García Lorca’] and ‘Cantos espirituales negros’ [‘Black Soul Songs’] by Editorial Cobalto.
He taught himself this discipline and, as he did with the rest of artistic languages, he continued with constant research. That same year he also illustrated
the programme of the jazz concert Mezzrow, at the Hot Club and Club49 in Barcelona.
In 1953 he obtained a scholarship from the French Institute to travel to Paris for five months where he became interested in the works of Cézanne and
Matisse. In that period he illustrated the letter from Cesáreo Rodríguez-Aguilera to Miguel Hernández with five drawings, a project that was included in
the March issue of the magazine Dau al Set. When he returned to Barcelona he founded, with Antoni Tàpies, Joan Josep Tharrats, Modest Cuixart,
Marc Aleu, Jordi Mercadé and Jaume Muxart, the Group Taüll, which had an ephemeral life but gathered some of the most prominent artists of the
period. After working in illustration and scenery sets for some time, from 1957 he began to develop an interest in abstract art and to use threedimensional
elements in many of his works, most of which were of large format. During 1955 he realised the decoration and figurines for the ballet of
Juan Tena Suite of Hidalgo, and did the murals for Moto Guzzi Hispania and for a building in Turó Parc in Barcelona.
From this year three murals realised for the hall and the theatre and cinema room of Llars Mundet also survive, and a mural for the Pirelli building in
During the fifties he participated in manifold biennales of contemporary art: in Sao Paulo in 1952 and 1957; Alexandria in 1955, and Venice in 1958 and
also in 1962. In this way he was able to officially leave Spain and to prove that avant-garde visual arts were not uncomfortable for the Franco regime,
unlike some other languages such as the literary or the cinematographic. Later Guinovart became convinced that painting or sculpture in Catalonia was
at an international level, but that there was a serious lack of training, and that contemporary art had thus come to the public empty of meaning.
In 1960 he began working in the field of lithography, which allowed him to continue experimenting with engraving. From this decade the decorations he
did for ‘Historia de los Tarantos’ [‘Tarantos History’] (1962) by Alfredo Mañas, ‘Bodas de Sangre’ [‘Blood Wedding’] (1963) by Federico García Lorca, ‘La
feria del Come y Calla’ [‘The Fair of Eat and Shut’] (1964) by Mañas and ‘La dama boba’ [‘The Stupid Lady’] (1966) by Lope de Vega; illustrations for
‘Poesies’ [‘Poetries’] (1962) by Salvat Papasseit, published by Editorial Arial, the ten articles of Julián Marías at ‘El Noticiero Universal’ [‘The Universal
News Bulletin’] (1965); and the murals for the Almirall gentlemen’s house (1962), the architect Leonori, the ceramic mural of Riudellots de la Selva and
the sgraffito for a building at carrer Balme-Pàdua (1963), work of the architect Carmona Sanz.
In 1969 he opened a new studio in Castelldefels, named Can Tieso, the same year in which Cesáreo Rodríguez-Aguilera published a monographic
study of Guinovart’s work in the magazine Cuadernos Hispanoamericanos.
In 1970, as he began working with serigraphy, he made the posters for the First Popular Festival of Catalan Poetry (Barcelona) and the First Festival of
the Popular Song (Lerida). During this decade he also made numerous trips (to Portugal, France and the United States).
Likewise, the facts that the Guggenheim Museum of New York bought his two etchings and made a donation of more than a hundred sculptures of
polychromed wood to the Museum of Modern Art of Barcelona (1978) standout. In 1982 he planned the scenography, in the form of a frieze, in homage
of the Picasso’s Guernica, shown at the The Exhibition gallery Soho, New York.
In 1989 he began to consider the future of Guinovart Space in Agramunt, while in the same year another study of the painter was published, ‘Josep
Guinovart-Joaquim Molas’, in the collection Dialogues in Barcelona.
The following year, 1990, saw the opening of the patio of the state school Macià-Companys in Agramunt, with a monument by Guinovart dedicated to the
memory of Companys.
In 1992 he published ‘Els cartells olímpics’ [‘The Olympian Posters’], Barcelona, COOB.
In 1994 he opened a museum / art space at Agramunt dedicated to his work, a town to which he always remained connected. The museum is called
Guinovart Space of Agramunt, and shares organisation with ‘Lo Pardal’, the house of visual poetry of Guillem Viladot.
In 2002, for the commemoration of his seventy-fifth birthday, he was proclaimed an Adoptive Son of the Village of Agramunt.
In 2006 he designed the cellar for Mas Blanch i Jové vineyard at La Pobla de Cérvoles and was the thinker behind the Artists’ Vineyard which opened
posthumously in homage to the artist in 2010 with the presentation of his sculpture ‘L’Orgue de Camp’ [‘The Countryside’s Organ’]: a six-metre tall
instrument set in a way so that the wind could sing through the vines. Inside the same cellar a work entitled ‘In Vino Veritas’ can also be found, which is
10.5m wide, as well as other artists’ works.
Josep Guinovart died in Barcelona on the 12th of December 2007. Since his death numerous exhibitions have been organised inside and outside the
territory and both the Foundation Josep Guinovart and the cellar Mas Blanch i Jové continue to work for the dissemination of his work.

Other works of the artist