Santiago Rusiñol was a Catalan painter, writer, collector, journalist and dramatist, who was born in Barcelona in 1861. He was a multi-faceted artist and one of the leaders of Modernism in Catalonia. His production of pictures, totalling about one thousand works, and literary pieces, with more than one hundred titles and an extensive number of articles, position him as a decisive benchmark in art, literature and the aesthetic ideas of his time.
Santiago Rusiñol and the Nicaraguan poet Rubén Darío (1867-1916), were contemporaries, they belonged to the same movement of literary and artistic renewal, Modernism. They spent long periods in Mallorca, even in the same house at different times, they had Mallorcan friends in common, but never ended up meeting one another on the island.
Rusiñol knew the Serra de Tramuntana very well and described it in his book “L’illa de la calma” (1922). Over time, this would help to create the myth of peaceful Mallorca, a paradise to discover, and there is no doubt it successfully promoted the island among artists of that era and served as a base for future tourism development. It is possible to see some of his paintings in the Municipal Museum of Valldemossa.
His stays, first in the neighbourhood of the Terreno de Palma, and afterwards in Pollensa, Cala de Sant Vicenç, Sóller and Valldemossa, inspired some of his most well-known paintings. Of a notably extrovert nature, Rusiñol struck up a friendship with people from Mallorca´s cultural scene of that era, especially the married couple, formed by the painter Pilar Montaner and Joan Sureda Bímet. Passionate about art in general, Joan Sureda provided accommodation at his Palace of King Sancho in Valldemossa for some of the most important early 20th century writers and painters, such as Santiago Rusiñol and Rubén Darío.