Throughout our 185 years of history, the most illustrious artists of the moment have frequented and are part of the history of our restaurant, such as the cafes left to us by the master Picasso when he was studying at the School of Fine Arts, or Miró, when he was inspired by the plates to compose his work.
They have all formed a small art gallery that we invite you to discover.
1836. The architecture of good taste
In the first half of the 19th century, Josep Xifré, a powerful businessman, had the so-called "Porxos de'n Xifré '' built on Passeig Isabel II in Barcelona. His good Parisian taste made him want to reproduce a construction similar to those found in the squares of the French capital and, specifically, the emblematic porches of the Rue de Rivoli.
In this incredible enclave he installed his home and a large luxury cafe with 7 entrance doors. The beginning of a legend of gastronomy.
The artistic floridry of the 19th century and that of the 7 Portes Restaurant
In the 19th century, Barcelona experienced a time of progress and enthusiasm in which the city's bourgeoisie promoted an important process of urbanization, modernization and sophistication of the Catalan capital, with els Porxos de'n Xifré being one of its main testimonials.
Catalan painting and the chronicle of the time of the Renaixença and Modernism are framed in this scenario. An enigmatic dancer that Ricardo Urgell, reminiscent of the theaters and cabarets of the early twentieth century, the Paral·lel or the Liceu, captured with an impressionist technique. The Mediterranean and Slavic delicacy of Olga Sacharoff, or the ethereal balance of Xavier Valls represent the continuity of these pictorial values, among others, illuminating the walls of 7 Portes ever since.
Modest Urgell (1939-1919)
He was not just another symbolist. There is something fascinating and radical in the austerity of his compositions, as discovered by Joan Miró, who expressed his deep admiration for the painter. The melancholy of his sunsets tells us about the passage of life, but also about the beauty found in the humblest places and invites us to serenity.
Marià Fortuny (1838-1874)
He was a daring orientalist for his free brushwork and his intense luminism. Delicately reminiscent of the refined and exotic beauty, alive and legendary, of the traditional Maghreb, he shows us here a character of delicate nobility and poetic dandyism. Fortuny was an international celebrity in his time and his genius inspired Dalí, who once stated: “Prim, Gaudí, Fortuny are from Reus; me too"
Arcadi Mas Fondevila (1832-1934)
The intense poetry of a modest corner of the countryside, serene and exuberant at the same time, is made possible thanks to the vibration of the brushstroke and the subtlety of light and shadow. Sensual and dynamic painter, he was one of the pillars of the so-called Sitges School that would anticipate the outbreak of Modernism in this town.
Catalan illustration, irony and tenderness
The illustrations of L'Esquetlla de la Torratxa or the Campana de Gràcia, deans of the satirical-critical press in Catalonia, demonstrate the importance of illustration and caricature as an art of ingenuity, denunciation, social portraiture or the pleasure of entertainment. Very inserted in our restaurant, often a place of intellectual and scathing conversation, this well-nourished collection makes a journey through past and present types and customs thanks to Junceda's sentimentality, Cornet's grace or Benejam's costumism.
Another aspect of drawing is represented by the worldly elegance of a Florit or Déco de Penagos. Later on, Cesc or Montesol represent a continuation of this sensibility to the present day. Also noteworthy is the presence of Mariscal and his Cobi, the mascot that emerged precisely from 7 Portes, when its author, dipping her finger in a glass of wine, drew it for the first time on a napkin in the Restaurant.
Ricard Opisso (1880-1966)
He is a mythical figure of Catalan drawing. From his participation in the meetings of Els Quatre Gats to his humorous vignettes, Opisso made sarcasm an art traced with inventiveness and agility. His grace in capturing women was admired, like that of this altered traveler, a local antecedent of pin-ups, with a glamor nuanced by irony.
Ramon Miró (1874-1927)
This great cartoonist had a fundamental role in illustrating advertisements in such important magazines as 'L'Esquella de la Torratxa' and 'La Campana de Gràcia'. In this work, which surprised by its modernity and graphic ingenuity, the artist announces the unavoidable presence of advertising through the symbolism of rain.
Contemporary art entrance
Since the protective presence of Picasso, contemporary art has always had its place at 7 Portes, the chance of discoveries and affinities. The succulent watercolors of Francesc Artigau, pioneer of the New Figuration, and the realism of Letícia Feduchi, coexist with the geometric abstraction of Adolfo Estrada or Andreu Alfaro.
Looking at the signing of scattered works, we discover the presence of various architects, such as Federico Correa or Montse Ribas. We also find a still life of the unmistakable Naziro, capable of moving from the underground to high art.
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)
What can we say about Picasso that hasn't already been said? A great universal master, precursor of cubism and emblem of many other artistic movements. We are indescribably proud to have his work on the walls of 7 Portes.
Antoni Tàpies (1923-2012)
It has represented the continuity of Joan Miró's spirit of demanding search with a strong sense of civic responsibility. In their posters and lithographs, with their own plastic qualities, they want to collect useful symbols and values for the community, such as the tribute to the masters of culture.
Tàpies is different from all other abstract painters. He achieves an emblematic dimension. Writing, calligraphic gesture, force of the brushstroke, expressiveness of the stain, come together in an unmistakable formula that transmits energy and mystery.
Christo Vladimirov (1935 -2020)
It has become famous for its large-scale interventions, wrapping large monuments, such as the Pont-Neuf in Paris, or traversing grandiose natural settings with sumptuous curtains. In Barcelona he has presented two projects: wrapping the statue of Columbus and the fountain in Plaça Espanya by Josep Maria Jujol.
Despite not having been carried out, in his drawings and plans they testify to the poetic force in his procedure. His paradox is that hiding can serve to show and see the familiar landscape with new and fascinating eyes.
Memorabilia: documents about the 7 Portes
Did you know that Miró kept the Auca del 7 Portes in his library? We like to preserve those documents that have sentimental value, that serve us to travel through time. Our collection allows us to rediscover a nostalgia that is not at all melancholy, but happy and fun: advertising documents, the endearing Cuentos de Calleja that were given to the children who visited the house, the poems of Just Blanquer, the poet waiter...
Francesc Català-Roca's photographs evoke the fascinating activity of the neighboring Estació de França.
Milton Glaser (1920-2020)
The father of one of the most popular icons of postmodern graphic design, Milton Glaser has strong ties to Barcelona and was a beloved customer of our restaurant. In 2011 we had the honor that he agreed to design the collection of labels for the commemorative bottles of our 175th anniversary that he made from a marvelous bestiary that evokes the communion of human beings with nature and its mysteries.
Perico Pastor (1953)
He is the artist who has found a synthesis between the tradition of Eastern drawing and Western watercolor.
While from the first he adopts the technique of moderate agility and the poetics of synthesis, from the second he draws freshness and luminous liveliness. In the following work we see one of the illustrations included in the book “Les 7 Portes. Friends and personalities”.
Autographs: the intimate imprint
Leaving aside its anecdotal and sentimental value, the collection of dedications of the 7 Portes offers us an entertaining frieze of graphic exercises. Antonio Saura builds an arch, while Albert Ràfols-Casamada opts for one of his evocative windows. The creative disinhibition of the writers and artists of the show is often surprising, such as the flower of Gabriel García-Márquez, the vigorous masks of Charlton Heston, the shyness of Woody Allen, reflected in the signature of his very, very small signature in the center of the white page or the exquisite sensitivity of Alexander Fleming.