“Aleix Clapés, the enigmatic painter of Güell and Gaudí”

If you could not enjoy the exhibition at the Palau Güell, now you have the opportunity to make the virtual visit "Aleix Clapés, the enigmatic painter of Güell and Gaudí" #AleixClapés #PalauGüell    

  • Self-portrait, ca. 1902. National Museum of Catalonia
  • Hercules in search of the Hesperides. Work courtesy of the National Museum of Art of Catalonia
  • Girls playing
  • Picture "The labourer"

Aleix Clapés (Vilassar de Dalt, 1846 – Barcelona 1920) was, for many years, the inseparable traveling companion and favorite painter of Eusebi Güell and Antoni Gaudí. Aside from being extremely powerful and expressive, he was also the painter par excellence of the Güell Palace, the only one who intervened in the original decoration of the building, both inside and outside.

Coinciding with the centenary of his death, the Güell Palace inaugurated on December 17th, 2020 the exhibition “Aleix Clapés, the enigmatic painter of Güell and Gaudí”, an anthological display promoted by the Provincial Council of Barcelona which has been curated by the historian and art critic Josep Casamartina and the doctor in theory and history of architecture Carlos Alejandro Lupercio.

The exhibition, which brings an important part of the work of Aleix Clapés, is divided in two areas. The first one includes the anteroom, the hall of “the lost steps” and the central hall of the palace, which from the very beginning were already decorated with works by the artist. The second area, in the attic, shows some of the most relevant works of this great painter of the symbolic modernism, who was not very well-known apart from mysterious. It shows us some of his most celebrated paintings and many unpublished ones, located during the organization of this retrospective. The sample also includes original furniture probably designed in collaboration with Gaudí, and personal items donated by his descendants. The initiative is supported by the National Museum of Art of Catalonia, the Foundation Board of Construction of the Expiatory Temple of the Sagrada Familia, the Royal Catalan Academy of Fine Arts of Sant Jordi, the museums of Sitges, the Reading Center of Reus, the Vilassar de Dalt Archive Museum, the Catalunya la Pedrera Foundation, San Pau Modernista Enclosure, the Royal Clapés family, Palau Antiguitats and several private collectors.

The exhibition can be visited in the attic space of the Palace until 30th May, 2021.



One of Aleix Clapés’ most famous paintings was “El peó” (The Labourer), a work surrounded by legend and mystery -like its author- which, as a result of the anthological exhibition promoted by the Güell Palace and its curators, has just appeared after many decades in unknown whereabouts.

The painting was exhibited in the Sala Parés in 1886 and, according to the family’s legend, Lev Trotsky bought it in 1920 in Paris and sent it to the Kremlin. Today we know that the painting did not leave Barcelona and from this April 23, 2021 we can admire it live as part of the exhibition “Aleix Clapés, the enigmatic painter of Güell and Gaudí” at the Güell Palace. It has not been publicly displayed for over a hundred years.

Part of the mystery, however, remains present: Clapés made a small version of the same painting that lingers unlocatable. Is that painting the one which Trotsky bought?



JOSEP CASAMARTINA I PARASSOLS (Sabadell, 1956) is an historian and art, architecture, and fashion critic; writer and screenwriter, and independent exhibition curator specialised in publications, exhibitions, documentary films of architecture, Catalan and Spanish art, fabric and fashion of the 20th and 21st centuries. Director and vice-president of the Antoni de Montpalau Foundation and of the namesake. Member of the Catalan Royal Academy of Saint-Jordi Fine Arts, of the Catalan Association of Art Critics (ACCA) and of the Association of Catalan Language Writers. 2011 ACCA award for the best heritage initiative for the fabric collection Antoni de Montpalau. GAC 2016 art critic award. ACCA 2017 Research award for the exhibition and the catalogue «Ismael Smith, la bellesa i els monstres» / «Ismael Smith, beauty and monsters» (MNAC). Art critic of El País newspaper from 1998 to 20217. Author of the Güell Palace Museological Plan and of the museographic project of the Cerdanyola Art Museum







CARLOS ALEJANDRO LUPERCIO CRUZ (Colima, Mexico, 1967) Is graduated in Interior Design and Ambience from the University of Guadalajara and has a PhD in Architecture Theory and History from the Polytechnic University of Catalonia with his PhD thesis Manuel Sayrach (1886-1937) en los márgenes del modernismo (Aleix Clapés (1846-1920) and Manuel Sayrach (1886-1937) on the margins of Art Nouveau). Post-doctoral fellowship from the Science and Technology National Council of Mexico at the Architecture Faculty of the Nuevo León Autonomous University in 2005 with the objective of developing the academic project Interrelacions entre el Modernisme català i l'Eclecticisme del nord-est de Mèxic (Interrelations between the Catalan Modernism and the Eclecticism of the north-east of Mexico). He was awarded a fellowship by the Culture and Arts National Fund in 2017 for the research project La Arquitectura Posrevolucionaria del Noreste de México (1917-1940) / The Post-Revolutionary Architecture of Northeast Mexico (1917-1940). Teacher-researcher at the Architecture Faculty of the Nuevo León Autonomous University and coordinator of the master’s degree in Interior Design and Architectural Atmospheres at the same university. Member of the Mexico National System of Researchers.




La Vanguardia 

El País 


El Punt Avui 


RTVE (min 15.20)

El Periódico 

El Temps de les Arts



La muestra sobre Aleix Clapés en el Palau Güell incorpora un cuadro "perdido" del artista (europapress.es)

El Palau Güell exhibeix l'enigmàtic quadre perdut d'Aleix Clapés 'El peó' (acn.cat)

El Palau Güell exhibeix un quadre perdut d'Aleix Clapés | betevé (beteve.cat)

El enigma del cuadro de Trotski continúa (elperiodico.com)

Exhiben en Barcelona un cuadro desaparecido de Aleix Clapés, el pintor de Antoni Gaudí (20minutos.es)

Aparece la obra de Aleix Clapés que se suponía que compró León Trotski (lavanguardia.com)

Lluny del Kremlin | Maria Palau | Art | El Punt Avui

Sale a la luz 'El peó', el cuadro perdido del pintor de Gaudí (timeout.es)

El peó, l’obra que volia Trotski (catorze.cat)



Aleix Clapés, el enigmático pintor de Güell y Gaudí

On sale in the Palau store and in the Bookstore of the Barcelona Provincial Council 

Complementary catalogue: Hèrcules buscant les Hespèrides 



Self-produced video: Clapés al Palau Güell 

In the audiovisual room attached to the exhibition are shown two videos: the program Art endins, dedicated to the painter Aleix Clapés, hosted by Josep Mulet and broadcast by channel 33, and Les pintures murals de La Pedrera, report directed by Ricard Terés and produced by the Catalunya La Pedrera Foundation.


Links to videos:




RELATED CONTENT: additional information


Webinar presentation of the exhibition catalog and the painting

Restoration of the painting Hercules:

Hèrcules retorna al Palau 

Hèrcules buscant les Hespèrides: La restauració  

Hèrcules buscant les Hespèrides d’Aleix Clapés torna a lluir al Palau Güell (Blog MNAC)


Carlos Alejandro Lupercio’s PhD thesis

Aleix Clapés (1846-1920) y Manuel Sayrach (1886-1937): en los márgenes del modernismo 



Reference document in Catalan

Reference document in Castellano/English/Français 

Press release(17th December of 2020)