La tertulia del Café de Pombo (The Gathering at the Café de Pombo)

José Solana (José Gutiérrez Solana)

Madrid, Spain, 1886 - 1945
  • Date: 
  • Technique: 
    Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 
    161,5 x 211,5 cm
  • Category: 
  • Entry date: 
  • Observations: 
    Entry date: 1988 (from the redistribution of the Museo Español de Arte Contemporáneo [MEAC] collection)
  • Register number: 
  • Donation of Ramón Gómez de la Serna, 1947

During the 19th century and until the Spanish Civil War, cafés increasingly became all-important institutions in the cultural life of Madrid and other Spanish cities with the gatherings they hosted. The foremost café became the drinking establishment and coffee shop Café Pombo, located on Calle Carretas in Madrid, just off Puerta del Sol, and from 1915 onwards it was the venue for one of the best known literary gatherings, organised every Saturday by novelist Ramón Gómez de la Serna and frequented by figures from the breadth of Spain’s avant-garde scene.   A record of its thronging activity exists in the numerous articles and publications by the aforementioned José Gutiérrez Solana, for instance Pombo (1918) and La sagrada cripta de Pombo (The Sacred Crypt of Pombo, 1924), but undoubtedly it is José Gutiérrez Solana’s 1920 painting that gives form to the most iconic images of such gatherings. In the picture, some of the pre-eminent intellectuals present at these occasions are portrayed, for instance Gómez de la Serna — stood in the centre of the scene — with Solana, Manuel Abril, Mauricio Bacarisse, Tomás Borrás, José Bergamín, José Cabrero, Pedro Emilio Coll and Salvador Bartolozzi.

Raúl Martínez Arranz