Antoni Amatller, a travelling photographer

The life of Antoni Amatller, the chocolate industrialist who commissioned the Casa Amatller from the architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch, was truly surprising. For those of you who don’t know it, you’d think it was a boring bourgeois who was able to build his beautiful house thanks to the money obtained from the family business, the successful Amatller Chocolates.

However, Antoni Amatller was a man with many hobbies, some of which made him ahead of his time. That he was a collector of art and archaeological glass was within the expectations of a person of his status. But that he liked photography, with a skilful handling of the camera thanks to which he received several awards, was already something exceptional. In addition, he was an outstanding traveler, also to destinations quite exotic for his time.

As heir to a renowned company, his father and uncle had promoted Antoni Amatller’s business trips from a very young age. Every year novelties arose regarding industrial production and product sales strategies, so it was necessary to know them first hand in order to stay ahead of the competition in Spain. So I already had travel experience, but more from the point of view of business and old Europe.

Antoni Amatller entered more unknown territories, far removed from Western civilization. With his daughter Teresa Amatller he arrived in Egypt, Morocco or Istanbul between 1900 and 1910. At the beginning of the 20th century, long before the arrival of globalisation, they were exotic countries and, to a certain extent, not yet linked to the major tourist routes.

A journey to Egypt through the eyes of Antoni Amatller

Another pleasant surprise is that Antoni Amatller became a contemporary tourist. Because he was accompanied by his camera, which was not a comfortable modern tool but a camera of great equipment. His snapshots reveal his journey, with a visit to the most emblematic monuments of the place.

Now, the Fundació Institut Amatller d’Art Hispànic and B The Travel Brand Xperience are jointly organising an exhibition with a selection of the best photographs of this trip, “Egypt 1909: the trip of the Amatller family in the land of the Pharaohs”. The exhibition is open in the exhibition hall of B The Travel Brand Xperience in Barcelona, at Avenida Diagonal 512. In them you can observe the splendid past of Pharaonic Egypt, the images in the different means of transport to the destination or the characteristics of life in Egypt at the beginning of the 20th century. The room also displays the memories of this trip in a display case, such as a guidebook or statuettes from Ancient Egypt.

Activities around the exhibition of Egypt 1909

To complement the exhibition, the “Passejades Amatller” have been created, combining a visit to the Casa Museu Amatller and the photographic exhibition. You can buy the tickets at this link.

In addition, we have also prepared a series of lectures by experts in which we will talk about Egyptology, the journeys and adventurers who approached the civilisation of the Nile, or the photographic facet of Antoni Amatller.

We hope that you too will enjoy this walk through Egypt with Antoni Amatller’s snapshots!