The grandfather I never knew

A number of different issues converge in this book. I would have liked to have benefited from my grandfather’s wisdom just as I did from my father’s.

I was born 17 years after my grandfather’s death.

For years I wondered why my family had not published a book like this one.

The reason is simple. It was a question of priorities. Difficult years.

I thought about putting this book together some time ago when the thesis of the historian Santi Barjau, written in 1992, was published. It would, I thought, provide it with a sense of continuity.

Santi had chosen Enric Sagnier Villavecchia as the topic for his thesis and with his biography he obtained the highest qualification.

Meanwhile, my friends Toni and Gloria Torrella gave me a book published in 1951 by the Destino publishing house. Its author was Carles Soldevila and it was called Guia de Barcelona.

On page 310 I read:

“To discover more about the different kind of Art Nouveau there is in Barcelona it is enough to stand in the Paseo de Gracia before the block of buildings commonly known as the “block of discord” because it is there that four eminent architects displayed their art: José Puig y Cadafalch, Gaudí, Enrique Sagnier and Luis Doménech y Montaner.”

Thirdly, and finally, I was influenced by the preparations being made to celebrate Gaudí year.

I could not finish here without thanking two people whose contribution has been of key importance for the whole publishing project. Santi Barjau and my niece Marta de Miquel Sagnier. Without them this task would have been very difficult, not to say practically impossible.

I would also like to thank all those who have collaborated and worked on the book; those who have enabled us to take photographs of the buildings; and those who have played a very special role with their various contributions: Ramón Alberti, José de Arana Sagnier, Maria del Mar Arnús, Josep Bagà, Joan Bassegoda Nonell, Oriol Bohigas, Julián Cabanillas Moreno, Juli Capella, Sister Cavestany Sagnier, Joan Codina, Luis Conde Möller, Nicolás Echave Sustaeta del Villar, David Ferrer, Liliana Gòdia, Laura Martorell, Salvador Mas de Xaxàs, Santiago Mercadé, Menchu Miarnau, Marta de Miquel Sagnier, Josep Maria Montaner, Teresa Navas, Rev. Oriol Oliveras, Lluís Permanyer, Juan Ignacio and Ana Peró, Oriol Pi de Cabanyes, Jorge Pla, Arcadi Pla Masmiquel, José Ribas Folguera, Raque Sagnier Balasch, Juan José Sagnier Balasch, Sergio Sagnier Hausmann,* Jorge Sagnier Hausmann (†), Alejandro Sagnier Prat, Maria Teresa Sagnier Puig-Mir, José Luis Sanz, Miquel Suqué, Toni and Glòria Torrella, Ramón Úbeda, Rafael Vargas, Javier Vilà Sagnier, Jorge Villavecchia de Delás and María Luisa de Yzaguirre.

Over the last four-and-a-half years I have had the good fortune to meet some extraordinary people, many of whom I might never have met had it not been for this book.

I would like to give my thanks to everyone concerned. We have achieved a highly satisfactory and useful collective task.

* With the assistance of Alex Sagnier, we carried out some interesting research into the family in France with Jorge Sagnier Hausmann, who died eleven years ago. Jorge was very knowledgeable about matters concerning the family and from him I heard a lot of stories and learnt about relations between the various branches of the family. Even after all these years, his contribution to the book is an evident one.

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Antonio Sagnier

Grandson and promoter of the project in favor of Enric Sagnier’s recognition.