17/01/2022

1888, Barcelona ES – Exposición Universal de Barcelona

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1888 Barcelona

Name:Exposición Universal de Barcelona
Dates:20 May – 9 Dec 1888
Days:c200 days
Venue:The historic Parc de la Ciutadella – 47 ha (115 acres)
Theme:Fine and Industrial Arts
Exhibitors:12,223 – 22 countries
Awards:
Visitors:2,240,000 – 1,227,000 paid a one peseta entry fee
Legacy:The initial commitment was 500,000 pesetas from the city and 1,500,000 pesetas by the
state, though it would rise to a total of 5.6m pesetas with revenues of 7.6m.
Some report a £346k loss/ Few physical traces are extant.
1888 poster

The ‘Universal’ in the show’s title was to link prior Madrid sectoral events for Agriculture (1857), Boating (1876), Viniculture (1877) and Mining.(1883), here being brought ‘under one roof’ at the the industrial capital of Spain, that had grown to a 273,000 population. Its industrial strength financed developments in art and architecture, often inmcluding a nationalistic theme.

This is considered to be the first international exhibition in Spain. It began as a ptivate venture Eugenio Serrano de Casanova, who, as a writer and journalist had critiqued several European exhibi. He then settled in Paris where he published guides for tourists. He wanted to bring exhibitions to Spain, specifically to Barcelona. Casanova’s efforts for an 1887 event failed, but others took up the notion led by the Barcelona mayor..

1888 venue

The Febre d’Or, or Gold Fever, generated local wealth and confidence from 1876 to 1886. It was this that gave local businesses and industries the impetus to organise this show.

Barcelona electrically lit for the event

The fair was opened by King Alfonso XIII of Spain, just two-years-old and his regent Maria Christina of Austria. The opening ceremony restored the historical Catalan Jochs Florals (Floral Games). Popular features were the Monumental Waterfall and grotto, the Magic Fountain, water and light show, and a captive balloon raised to 200m.


Umbracle exterior

Umbracle interior

The exhibition incorporated Josep Fontseré’s 1883 Umbracle, an arched cast-iron tropical greenhouse; it still stands today.


1888 General View

1888 Poster Montage of buildings

Josep Vilaseca’s 30m (98 ft) high Neo-Mudéjar Arc de Triomf was on the Passeig Sant Joan and formed the main entrance that led first to the Palacio de Bellas Artes (Palace of Fine Arts), next came the Palacio de Ciencias (Science Palace), then the 6.9 ha (17-acre) Palacio de la Industria (Palace of Industry).


Arc de Triomph at entrance for the event

Hotel International

Castell dels tres dracs (Castle of the Three Dragons) was designed by Domènech i Montaner as the Exposition’s main catering facility, subsequently becoming the Museum of Zoology. He also designed the stylish International Hotel, which was built for the show in 69 days.

Gaudi designed a pavilion for the López y López Catalan shipping family. While the building was subsequenly pulled down the Fontseré fountain remains extant in today’s park.


Fontseré fountain

Columbus Monument

Monument a Colon, a 60m (197 ft) tall monument to Christopher Columbus was built at the lower end of La Rambla, this is where Columbus is said to have returned to Europe after his first Americas’ voyage.

1888 Barcelona Montage Poster

Barcelona Harbour was filled with International Navy squadrons.

1888 medals

Forward to 1888, Brussels BE – Grand Concours International des Sciences et de l’Industrie
Back to 1887, Rome IT – Esposizione mondiale
Back to Getting Noticed – Back to VOLUME II Index – Back to bobdenton.com home

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