The Pau Casals Museum is located in the Vil·la Casals, the summer house that Pablo Casals built in front of Sant Salvador beach, in the municipality of El Vendrell, and which became his habitual residence from the 1920s onwards. Pablo Casals lived there until 1939, when, after the end of the Spanish Civil War, he went into exile and never returned.
In 1972, Pablo Casals and his, wife Marta Montañez created the Pau Casals Foundation to preserve the Sant Salvador house and its collection, which was opened to the public in 1974.
In 2001 the Museum underwent a complete refurbishment and adaptation of the services that allowed it to be approved as a museum facility. In June 2020, the Government of Catalonia declared it a Museum of National Interest due to its importance and the value of the collection of goods it preserves.
In 2021, thanks to funding from the Department of Culture of the Government of Catalonia and the support of El Vendrell Town Council and Tarragona Provincial Council, the Museum began a project to restore the historic building and renovate the museum in order to become a leading museum on the international legacy and life of Pablo Casals.
To preserve and raise awareness of Pablo Casals’ heritage, musical and human legacy in an open, innovative and participatory way, through music and education based on the values of peace, social commitment and the defence of human rights.
To become a leading national and international museum devoted to the life and human legacy of Pablo Casals, with a transformative and educational capacity that connects with society and with the new generations, engaging in dialogue, questioning and generating a critical spirit.
Vil·la Casals: Paradise and Legacy
The story of the house begins in 1908, when architect Francisco Solà Gené first planned the urban development of the maritime district of Sant Salvador and Casals bought some land. At the end of the following year he signed the contract to build the house, which was to be designed by Francisco Solà Gené himself. Construction of the house began in early 1910 and the work was completed at the end of the year.
Over time the house was evolving, but the final reform would come in 1931, when Pablo Casals commissioned the extension works to the architect Antoni Puig Gairalt, converting the summer house into a majestic residence with a concert hall, where a valuable set of eighteenth-century paintings by the artist Francesc Pla, “El Vigatà”, and a large garden with a sculpture gallery and a gazebo overlooking the Mediterranean Sea were installed.
In 2020, El Vendrell Town Council declared it a Cultural Asset of Local Interest.
The architect Francisco Solà Gené designs the first urban planning for the maritime quarter of Sant Salvador.
Pablo Casals buys the land to build a house there. In November he signs the contract to build it with the builder Josep Carreras and the architect Francisco Solà.
The house’s construction began in January and was completed at the end of the year. The house consists of a two-storey central structure with a porch open to the sea.
He obtains permission to build the guesthouse on the other side of the garden, which is not completed until 1929.
The façade of the house is renovated. The railing on the terrace and porch is replaced with a green glazed ceramic balustrade.
At the end of the year, the architect Antoni Puig Gairalt was commissioned to enlarge and renovate the house. The refurbishment clearly follows the nineteenth-century aesthetic.
The reform of the house begins, which includes the new east wing, a garage, the garden, the reform of the stables, the old pantry, the vineyard farmhouse and the irrigation system.
The Concert Hall and the Vigatà Hall are planned, where a lavish collection of 18th century paintings by the artist Francesc Pla, “El Vigatà”, is installed. Josep Clarà’s Apol·lo is installed in the central part of the wall of the sculpture gallery.
In January, shortly after the house was completed, Pablo Casals goes into exile. His brother Luis and his family take over the house until 1974, the year in which the house-museum is inaugurated.
After Pablo Casals’ death in 1973 in San Juan de Puerto Rico, the Vigatà Hall, the Music Hall and the Sentiment Hall, converted into an art gallery, are opened to the public.
Inauguration of the house-museum, which is then managed by the Pau Casals Foundation, created in 1972.
The museu-house is closed in order to do an architectural refurbishment and new permanent exhibition.
On 2nd June the new phase of the museum is inaugurated, adopting the name of Vil·la Casals-Pau Casals Museum.
The house is listed as a Cultural Asset of Local Interest by the El Vendrell Town Council, and the Government of Catalonia declares it a Museum of National Interest.
A new refurbishment of the historic house is inaugurated, which enhances the value of the original architecture with criteria of sustainability and is committed to a new permanent exhibition that highlights the worldwide legacy of Pablo Casals.
The Pau Casals Museum forms part of the network of El Vendrell museums with which it collaborates and participates in joint projects and activities to promote the museums of the municipality of El Vendrell linked to different disciplines such as art, literature and music.
The territorial network of museums of Tarragona and Terres de l’Ebre is created in order to develop tools for collaboration between registered museums members in this territorial area.
The Pau Casals Museum is a founding member of Iconic Houses of Catalonia, a private non-profit association that brings together historic residential buildings significantly linked to the creative and / or artistic genius of its designers or inhabitants, and that allow a territorial reading of the history and cultural expressions of Catalonia.
The Pau Casals Museum is a member of DEMHIST, the International Committee of Historical Houses of ICOM, which focuses on the management and conservation of house museums.