Ex-libris by Alexandre de Riquer

Alexandre de Riquer i Inglada (Calaf, 1856 – Palma de Mallorca, 1920) is a good representative of the modernism symbolism that appears with force in Catalonia at the end of the XIX century. He was formed in the school “Llotja de Barcelona” and complete his studies with stades in Rome, Paris and London. In his stance in England he was influenced by japonism and the Pre-Rafaelites, and also for the movement of the Arts and Crafts. On this trip to London, in the 1900, also discovered the art of the Ex-libris, famous around Europe. When he came back to Catalonia, published several articles reclaiming the artistic interest of the Ex-libris and also the need of recovering the etching technique. Riquer had a important paper in the introduction of the Ex-libris art, not only for being one of the first artists in promoting this discipline. Also was one of the renewers of the genre and teacher of one of the most great ex-librers and etching conreators of past generations: Triadó, Renart, Galí, Diéguez and Sert.
In 1903 published the book Ex-libris Riquer, were collected their principal creations of this genre. The most of his ex-libris are characterized by a poethical idealism, typical of his artworks from the 1980’s decade. Usually he works with flat inks –excepting when he works the etching- and using a sleek canon. Among his most important publications, besides the collaborations as illustrator in newspapers and magazines, highlights his intervention in some volumes of the Biblioteca Arte y Letras, along with the books designed and written by himself:  Quan jo era noi (1897), Crisantemes (1898) and Anyoranses (1902).
The ex-libris of Alexandre de Riquer, continuing with the suggested criterion by Eliseu Trenc, are clasified in five typologies: the first typology is formed by the ones that are starred by an allegorical female figure in the center, with a background formed by trees and a river. The ex-libris of Rafael Patxot and Joan Llongueras are a good example. The second are the ex-libris like Manuel de Montoliu and Eudald Thomas ones, with a circular or oval form and usually presenting a figurative element in the center. Usually there are floral elements sorrounding it. The third typology, represented by the ex-libris of Emily Cabot and Raimon Casellas, are exlibris of rectangular form, without decorative elements and with female figures or faces. The fourth group, represented by the ex-libris of Rita Benaprès or Miquel Utrillo, is characterized by being opposite to the rest: they are sober, almost without floral elements and stamped only with two or three inks. Finally, it is important to mention the ex-libris usually realized in etching and of bigger dimension compared to the ones mentioned before. They are usually formed by an oval medallion located in the center with an allegory and sorrounded by nymphs. They are the last ex-libris realized by Alexandre de Riquer.
Bernat Puigdollers
Museu de Montserrat