Bonavista talks with… Artur and Mónica Ramon

Artur Ramon Art is an art gallery located in a former textile warehouse in Barcelona’s Eixample Dret. Led by Artur and Monica Ramon, this diaphanous and welcoming space hides a private collection on the second floor.

The gallery is surrounded by other buildings that evoke Barcelona’s textile past, such as the modernist Casa Burés, and the Cotton House Hotel, with a Mediterranean cuisine restaurant and cocktail bar. This vibrant area of the Eixample is also home to Girona 2, by architect Enric Sagnier, and the 19th-century building Girona 34. In the neighborhood, you can find trendy offerings, such as the chocolate laboratory LØT!.

You like your gallery to be a meeting place.

Yes, we like to host. We want to be an open, welcoming space, that our gallery doesn’t intimidate a person who doesn’t know us. We would also like to further strengthen the relationship or synergies with other artistic disciplines, such as music and theater, and encourage exchange and dialogue.

What is the aim of your exhibitions?

We look for a story and dialogue with our collection of antiques and modern art, and we add to the projects the collaboration of a national or international contemporary artist. We want to bring the ancient world closer to the new generations, and we always think of giving a contemporary look to the projects. Because yesterday can only be understood from today.

The private gallery, on the second floor, is a very special space.

It is where we exhibit our latest acquisitions and carry out appraisals and research on works of art. We are ready to host and welcome visitors. In this space we sometimes hold conferences or book presentations. We also collaborate with companies and host small events with people who value being surrounded by art and we provide catering for them.

How does your art collection reflect the fact that you are the fourth generation of antique dealers and gallery owners?

Our father had an extensive knowledge of Catalan painting.  Artur is an expert in ancient painting and Monica has specialized in contemporary painting. In our collection you will find pieces from more than 1,000 years of art history, from archaeological, Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Renaissance, modern, or contemporary. We are very eclectic and it is very interesting to see how well works from different periods coexist.

What is the rarest or most unusual object you have had in your hands?

A piece of ceramics from the 15th century, a rosette of great beauty, reminiscent of some of the works of the Florentine sculptor Lucca della Robbia. An Italian expert did a pigment study and we discovered that it was the work of his nephew, the sculptor Andrea della Robbia. When you manage to attribute the work to an artist of that importance it is a magical moment. The rosette is now on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas.

What advice would you give to someone who is just starting to collect?

To buy for passion and not for investment. It’s important to like the work you buy and enjoy it. It’s important to like the work you buy and enjoy it. It is very rare to have works by artists who are in the Louvre, but it is still possible to have works by Catalan artists who are in museums in the country, such as the MNAC, the National Museum of Art of Catalonia.

Your favorite restaurant in Eixample Dret.

We have two! Pirineu en Boca in Girona street, a very good quality Pyrenean meat restaurant, charcuterie and butchery, all very good. La Bocca di Bonifacio, on Bailén street, an Italian restaurant in front of our gallery. They have excellent pasta dishes and they are very friendly.

And what is your Proust's madeleine? That food that takes you back to your childhood.

Some dishes that our maternal grandmother used to cook, such as canelons or carn en fricandó. Also the Escudella, a traditional Catalan dish, is a hearty broth with vegetables, some potatoes and noodles, and legumes.

What activity or place in Barcelona would you recommend to someone visiting the city for the first time?

The basilica of Santa Maria del Mar, in Born neighborhood, and then take a walk through the neighborhood. Discovering the narrow streets in the old quarter of Barcelona.

Any local event or festival that you look forward to every year?

In Barcelona, the Gallery Weekend held in September and the Art Week held at the end of the year. And an unmissable event for us is the TEFAF art and antiques fair in Maastricht, the most important art fair in Europe. It is a sectorial fair, we look for and reserve works of art all year round for this event. For us it is very important because it opens you up to the international market. We have been going for fourteen years and we always say that if you are passioned about art, you have to visit TEFAF Maastricht once in your life, you will see the highest quality works of art from different periods.

A city in the world that inspires you.

New York, its museums and galleries.