Example of some of Gaudi's famous Trencadis, 2018.

WMF Presents Gaudí & Trencadís Exhibit in Valencia

Example of some of Gaudi's famous Trencadis, 2018.

On October 2, the National Museum of Ceramics and Sumptuary Arts “González Marti” in Valencia, Spain and World Monuments Fund (WMF) will present “Gaudí & Trencadís”, an exhibition on the origins and evolution of iconic architect Antoni Gaudí’s trencadís mosaics. Curated by Mireia Freixa and Marta Saliné and coordinated by Pablo Longoria, WMF Spain Executive Director, the exhibit will showcase a total of 53 works, including 33 original pieces and 20 reproductions by the restorer Montse Agüero. 

A conference will be organized in parallel by the National Museum of Ceramics on October 26 - 27 focusing on the restoration of the Trencadís technique, as well as visits to the Cabanyal neighborhood of Valencia, which boasts rich examples of trencadis mosaic experimentations. 

Detail of main façade at Casa Battló
Detail of main façade at Casa Battló

Antoni Gaudí’s signature trencadís mosaics are known for their rich combination of complexity, volumes, textures, and colors, and appear in many of the architect’s works. The Güell Pavilions, where Gaudí first used the modern mosaic technique, were included on the 2014 World Monuments Watch to raise awareness of the lack of means for their conservation.

With the support of the American Express Foundation, WMF facilitated the publication of a book in 2019 about Gaudí and the Trencadís written by Marta Saliné and Mireia Freixa with photographs by Pere Vivas and Ricard Pla, upon which the “Gaudí & Trencadís” exhibit will be based. In parallel to this project and also with the support of the American Express Foundation, WMF developed a app to showcase 100 'invisible' modernist buildings throughout Barcelona and encourage more sustainable tourism in the city.  

Take a peek at some stunning visuals of the Trencadís in this 2019 WMF slideshow. 

About "Gaudí & Trencadís"

Detail of administrative block at Park Güell

The Gaudí & Trencadís exhibit explains the origin and evolution of the trencadís mosaic technique, breaking it down to reveal the raw materials from which it is composed. Original and replica pieces are presented together with photographs to provide visitors with a comprehensive perspective on the materials used. 

The trencadís mosaics are one of the visuals which best characterize the work of Antoni Gaudí. In modernism, architecture is considered the synthesis of all the arts. Through ornamentation, a rich combination of forms can be achieved, with a wide variety of volumes, textures, and colors - colors which are rendered through the use of ceramic and glass mosaic. 

The first part of the exhibit will place the trencadís within the larger history of mosaics and their tyopologies in modernism: Roman, Venetian, stone, ceramic and trencadís - all used by Gaudí. Different industrial techniques, such as hydraulic or stoneware, will also be presented. 

Detail of a bench
Detail of a bench by Gaudí

The second part of the exhibition will focus on the evolution of trencadís in Gaudí's works, from the Güell Pavilions –where the technique was used for the first time–, to the Güell Palace, the Torre Bellesguard, the Casa Batlló, the Park Güell, the Casa Milà Segimon, the church of the Güell Colony and the Sagrada Familia. 

Gaudí experimented with all kinds of materials, especially ceramics, replacing the regular cut of traditional mosaic tiles with random fragments. Around him, a whole team of artisans, industrialists, and laborers evolved – including, of note, architect Josep M. Jujol, to whom Gaudí imparted his creativity and affection for recycling of materials.


The exhibit, presented in collaboration with the City Council of Valencia, the Cabanyal Plan-Canyamelar and GRACMON, Art History and Contemporary Design Research Group at the University of Barcelona, and made possible by American Express support, will run from October 2  to January 31.