Pere Santaló i Castellví (1848-1931)

Pere Santaló was born in the street Arc del Teatre of Barcelona in 1848, in a craft family of nine brothers. During the tragic epidemic of anger of 1860 the parents and the eight brothers died of it. Pere studied Medicine in Barcelona, where he was disciple of Josep de Letamendi. In being finished the career, he married with Francisca Marquès i Bolet, in 1871. They would be parents of two sons: Francisca, who died in 1954; and Joan, who died in 1934. For two years, he exercised the Medicine. Afterwards, having a small rent, he decided to occupying managerial charges not remunerated in the House of Motherhood and Foundlings, since 1880 until his death, in 1931. He did not want to accept the presidency, because his rent, rather fair, did not allow him to arrive at the expenses of representation; goes being vocal and vice-president. During this period, the Motherhood abandoned the bare premises that it occupied from 1853 in the street Ramaders, between Elisabet and Tallers, and changed in the new complex of buildings of Les Corts de Sarrià, entrusted for the Regional Government of Barcelona to the architect Camil Oliveras, colleague and friend of Gaudí, started in 1884 and broadened several times along the years, to pay attention to the growth of the number of extra matrimonial sons. Doctor Santaló frequented the coffee Pelayo, where in 1878 Camil Oliveras presented him Anton Gaudí. Immediately they sympathized, and they coincided in several visits to monuments of Catalonia as members of the Catalanist Association of Excursions; and in other entities, like the Ateneu of Barcelona. Doctor Santaló liked a lot to participate in the literary club of the Athenaeum, where it made head Àngel Guimerà. In February of 1888, Gaudí make a small project of horses stable in the street of Còrsega, very near the chamfer with Girona, then municipality of Gràcia, for his friend Pere. Doctor Santaló lived in the house of his father in the street Arc del Teatre until 1900, when he moved to a building of the street Nou de la Rambla (then Conde del Asalto), n. 32. He entrusted to Gaudí the reform of the façade, extremely simple. Gaudí visited often the home of Santaló family. A day that both friends talked in the living, Francisca, the daughter of Santaló, entered, and Gaudí put her out with some violence, saying her that not to be snooper. The girl took it to herself badly and to the death of Gaudí, at the request of father Manel Trens and other persons that asked for the beatification of the architect, declared: "Gaudí, they will make him saint, boss of the irascible". Joan, the son of Santaló, made a workshop of forge associated with Josep Gaudí i Pomerol, cousin of the architect. The business not to work very well, even though had occasion of making some interesting works, like the storm door of the church of the Bonanova, projected in 1902 for Josep Vilaseca and Lluís Domènech i Montaner. The Santaló spent every summer in Montserrat two weeks, and the Gaudí -Anton, his father Francesc and his niece Roseta- often rose there to greet them. In the Ateneu, Santaló discovered the young architect Josep Maria Jujol, who he recommended to Gaudí because of his talent. Doctor Santaló did not exercise the Medicine as a profession more than two years, but he was the family doctor of his friend Anton. He instructed the architect in subjects of anatomy and of physiology when he undertook the sculptures of the Façade of the Nativity. He diagnosed him the fevers of Malta in 1911 and accompanies him to Puigcerdà, where they installed themselves in the Hotel Europa. Doctor Santaló answered the letters and care that the sick took the remedies, even though Anton, supporter of the naturalist doctrine of the abbot Sebastian Kneipp, wanted to convince that the cure would not be caused to him by the medicines, but by his living, the vegetarian diet and the hydrotherapy. The case is that doctor and sick saw the possibility of the end and Gaudí make will in front of the notary of Puigcerdà on the 9th June of 1911. Moreover, for palliating the effects of the rheumatism that Gaudí had suffered all the life and that was stressed on becoming older, doctor Santaló advised him to make manual exercises. Thus, Gaudí dedicated himself to making the lamps of the crypt of the Holy Family, with his hands. When in 1912 Roseta, the niece of Gaudí, died, the architect reduced alone at his house in the Park Güell, and Santaló accompanied him many festive days. In the last times, Santaló went the evenings to the Holy Family to pick up his friend and they both, on foot, made way towards the Gothic neighborhood. Santaló remained in the Ateneu and Gaudí followed until the Oratorio of Saint Philip Neri, where he practiced his personal religious devotion. Both dressed of black and many Sundays they made joints the walk for the breakwater, coming out of the high mass of the Cathedral. Gaudí liked a lot to speak, without being interrupted; and Santaló liked to listen. The family Santaló was convinced that Anton Gaudí had been born in Riudoms and not in Reus, because this is what he himself explained in the privacy. When doctor Santaló fell ill, Gaudí became very sad. He said that he had trusted too much in his resistance and, for this reason, he could not react. He did not want to lose one of the few friends who came off living. In 1926, Pere Santaló was operated on the prostate in the hospital of Dr. Emili Secanella i Vidal, in Les Tres Torres. Gaudí visited him every day, until the 7th June, when he suffered the accident. Francisca, the daughter of Santaló, was informed of it by the newspapers and concealed it from her father, who repeated: "It is strange that Anton does not come". According to some witnesses, on the 10th in the afternoon, Pere Santaló commented very happy to Francisca that Anton had come, and that the chamber had filled with light. Doctor Santaló, convalescent, could not attend the opening of the will of Gaudí. He had appointed him one of the executors and heir of a small symbolic amount of shares.

Josep Maria Tarragona, December 6, 2007

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Last update: 06/05/2016