A realistic painter specialised in genre painting, as well as landscapes and portraits on commission. He had a preference for light-dark scenes and theatrical light effects, influenced by his work as an organiser and producer of plays. A pioneer in the art of cinematography, after having seen the great success enjoyed by the cinemas of the US, Graner decided to open one in Spain in 1904. He commissioned Gaudí to decorate Sala Mercè on the Rambla dels Estudis in Barcelona, one of the city’s first cinemas. It was conceived as a “comprehensive art venue”, a concept in line with the Wagnerian trends of the time. Here the great novelty was the incorporation of the filmmaker. The underground theatre resembled a cavern and the space was referred to as the “grutes fantàstiques” [fantastical caves], inspired by the Coves del Drac in Mallorca. Sala Mercè closed in 1913 due to commercial failure and bankruptcy of the artist.

Oil on canvas

70x55 cm

Lluís Graner Arrufí, 1863 - 1929