Modernist Can Prunera Museum in Soller
May 25, 2015
Mallorca has long had a reputation an art lover's paradise. While most art treasures are held in the island's capital in Palma, there are a surprising number of noteworthy museums and art collections dotted around the island that lie a little off the beaten tourist track. If you're planning to hire a car at Mallorca Airport to explore the gorgeous Tramuntana Mountain region, be sure to stop off at Soller and make room in your itinerary for the modernist mansion Can Prunera, a true gem.
Reversal of Soller's Fortunes
Located at 86, Calle Lluna in Soller, this iconic Art Nouveau mansion was built in 1911, when owners Joan Magraner and Margalida Vicens wanted to show off their modernist treasures and accumulated wealth. The mansion remained in the Magraner family possession until 2006.
In 2011 the mansion was purchased by the Fundació Tren de L‘Art; the foundation renovated the lovely property and transformed it into a museum.
The origins of the mansion's architectural style and interior design, together with that of the Sant Bartomeu church and adjacent Banc de Soller, lie in a devastating plight that affected the region's orchards in 1865 and wiped out local landowners' way of life, when it radically reduced their source of income.
Wealthy residents fled to Central and South America and France to start afresh. When they eventually returned, their cultural horizons had been widened and they brought with them a taste for the modernist movement, Art Nouveau architecture and design.
Unexpected Art Treasures of international Repute
The Can Prunera exhibits include wonderful sculptures from the D'Art Serra collection and permanent exhibits by artists like Picasso, Matisse, Magritte, Chillida, Toulouse-Lautrec, Paul Klee, Joan Miro and Fernand Léger. Among the home-grown talents and those that were inspired by Mallorca's colourful landscapes and extraordinary textures are painters like Joaquim Mir, Joan Fuster, Santiago Rusiñol and Miquel Barceló.
The mansion itself boasts stained glass windows and a wealth of original furniture that showcases the early 20th century taste for marquetry and colourful choices of wood. The mansion's floors boast richly coloured tiles in floral as well as geometric patterns. The mansion's ceilings are highly ornate, with stucco images that range from hunting motifs to romantic Art Nouveau floral designs.
Situated a couple of minutes' walk from Soller's main square on the Carrer de sa Lluna, which is Soller's main shopping district, the museum has a distinctive facade. Responsible for the opulence of this building, the Church of San Bartomeu and the Banc de Soller was architect Josep Rubio i Bellver.
The mansion's gorgeous balustrades of the main staircase and the small spiral staircase were fashioned by a local blacksmith, Manuel, Carrascosa, whose ornate wrought iron work includes delicate vine leaves and charming floral designs.
For bookworms the highlight of the museum has to be the art library, which includes books illustrated by Joan Miró. Throughout the year the museum stages temporary exhibitions and during spring and summer the lovely gardens are used for concerts and other cultural events.
A must-see Highlight in Tramuntana
The museum is open daily to the public between 1st March and 30th October from 10.30 am to 6.30 pm. In winter, the mansion is open until 6.00 pm but closed on Mondays. Entrance fee is EUR 5.00 for adults, EUR 3.00 per person for students, senior citizens and group bookings.
The museum gives visitors a fascinating insight into the wealth Soller once enjoyed, especially when its former residents returned at the start of the 20th century, after having made their fortunes abroad.
Simply park your rental car from Mallorca Airport in one of the municipal car parks and stroll through the splendid streets towards the main square of the town to get a feeling for what Soller must have been like at the beginning of the 20th century.
Imagine ladies in tightly corseted dresses wearing wagon-wheel hats decorated with every imaginable type of feather and ribbons ambling through Soller town centre at the arm of their whiskered beaux. Perhaps here and there the sounds of the Argentine tango would have escaped from the open doors of cafes and restaurants to remind Soller's wealthy local residents of their years in South American exile.