Josep Busquets i Odena (Fontscaldes 1914 – Barcelona 1998)

Aged 5 he moved to Valls with his parents and it was there, aged 6, that he started to make rough figures from the mud in the street on wet days. He sculpted whatever stone he came across even though he had yet to start off formally in the secrets of the sculptor´s trade.

Aged 18 he attended drawing classes in Valls Technical School where he launched into the world of drawing, painting and modelling.

Not satisfied by the classes in Valls, aged 20 he set off daily on his bike for the 36 km return trip from Valls to Tarragona. He attended classes in the Tarragona Arts & Craft School, one of the most important at the time where his classmates included Mallol the painter, the sculptors Rebull and Martorell, Ricart the engraver, the historian Rafael Benet and the art critic Capdevila.

He was called up in 1937 due to the Spanish Civil War and his studies were cut short. Indeed the Arts & Crafts School was destroyed in the conflict. Once the war was over, he got down to work and returned to Valls where he received his first commission for a statue of St Francis.

His first exhibition was in 1940 and around then he produced many religious sculptures, mainly as a result of commissions.

In 1942 with his studies finished and his mind full of creative ideas he moved to Barcelona where he refined his art in the workshop of the sculptor Martí Llauradó.

He married Rosa in 1943 and they went to live in a cottage in the Gràcia district. They remained there for 22 years and their only child, a daughter, Montserrat was born there. He had his first solo exhibition in the Sala Campaña in Barcelona.

In 1945 he exhibited in the Syra gallery and around that time he exhibited in many galleries in Barcelona, Madrid, Bilbao and Tarragona.

In 1972 he had an acclaimed exhibition in the Sala Parés and from then till the end of his artistic life he was a regular exhibitor.

His links to Valls were constant, intense and lively throughout his life. Despite living in Barcelona due to his work as well as the fact that it was the unquestioned cultural capital and the ideal place to exist and to work as an artist, Valls was his active shelter where he showed his work and where he passed long spells every summer. Valls in turn called on him to produce its most significant commissions and paid tribute to him on several occasions to the point where he justifiably came to be known as Valls´s sculptor.

The restoration of the altarpiece for St John´s Church in Valls figures amongst his most important works. He worked on it for no less than 8 years up to 1954 and it included 197 individual figures either in stone or in alabaster.

The Monument to the “Xiquets de Valls” in 1969 is also very important. It is a needle pyramid, 14m high with 62 sculpted figures.

Valls is an open air exhibition site for the work of “it´s” sculptor and there you can find more works in the Town hall, the hospital, the “Centre de Lectura” amongst others.

He received several honours including the Julio Antoni Medal from the “Diputació de Tarragona” and the Gold Phoenix from Valls Town Council.

He worked in wood, bronze, marble, terracotta, stone but his speciality was direct sculpting. He created pure shapes, working directly with the material and playing with space. Without doubt the female nude was his favourite theme.