Daniel Zuloaga in Madrid
Today, we propose a tour through Madrid centered around the ceramic work applied to the architecture of Daniel Zuloaga Boneta (Madrid 1852- Segovia 1921). Not all the examples of such work are on this tour. For example, the giant murals of the School of Mines, nor the old Hospital of Laborers of Maudes are included on this tour, and it is also out of chronological order, but the idea is that the tour would last only a few hours, on foot in addition to using the metro. Through this tour, we want to highlight the fact that Daniel Zuloaga was one of the principal ceramists of Spain, especially in the 19th and 20th centuries. Mainly those in Madrid and Segovia, but ultimately all of his ceramics, in both architecture and furniture (or “cacharros,” as he called them), is represented all throughout Spain. His work can also be found in South America and the rest of Europe.
Antiguo Edificio del Ministerio de Fomento (Old Building of the Ministry of Development)
The first stop on this tour of the Monumental Ceramics of Daniel Zuloaga in Madrid is the Antiguo Edificio del Ministerio de Fomento. It is currently the seat of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fish, and Food. The architecture itself was done by Ricardo Velázquez Bosco in 1893. Zuloaga took up the ceramic decoration of the exterior of the building, where you can see allegorical panels, friezes, and reliefs of a lion head, the goddess Athena, and Hercules, which Zuloaga collaborated with the sculptor Ricardo Bellver to create. Because of the enormous assignment, Zuloaga needed better kilns and materials, so he moved to Segovia to work in the pottery factory of Loza de La Segoviana de los Vargas, which solidified his link with the capital of the aqueduct.
Palacio de Cristal del Retiro (Crystal Palace in the Retiro)
This famous icon of Madrid is the work of the architect Ricardo Velázquez Bosco, in which he masterfully makes use of steel, glass, and ceramics. It is the little brother of the lost Crystal Palace, created for the Great World Exposition of 1851 in London. Zuloaga carried out, possibly in his workshop in Vallehermoso, the interior and exterior decoration for what was known as “Invernadero del Pabellón de Filipinas,” constructed for the Exposition of the Philippine Islands celebrated in Retiro Park in 1887; today it is popularly called the Palacio de Cristal. As an anecdote of the family, it is said that Ignacio Zuloaga (who at the time was 16 or 17), gained his first artistic experiences as an assistant to his uncle Daniel in the decoration of the Palacio de Cristal, creating a friendship between the two that transcended that of uncle and nephew and lasted until the death of the ceramist.
Palacio de Velázquez en el Retiro (Palace of Velázquez in Retiro Park)
This building was given this name because of one of its architects: Ricardo Velázquez Bosco. The other architect was Alberto del Palacio. The emblematic building was constructed for the National Exposition of Minerals, Metallurgic Arts, Ceramics, Glass, and Mineral Waters of Madrid in 1883. Zuloaga, along with his brothers Germán and Guillermo, made the exterior decoration of the building in the Monclao Factory. They used ancient traditional Spanish techniques such as the “edge” and the “dry rope.” This building is one of the best known Tiled Monuments of Daniel Zuloaga. It is currently an exposition room annexed by the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.
Casa de la Marquesa de Eguarás (House of the Marchioness of Eguarás)
In this door at Calle Barquillo, 22, the artist made, for the architect Jesús Carrasco-Muñoz, what is possibly one of the first examples of Modernist ceramics in Madrid, depicting the heads of women inspired by the work of Alphonse Mucha. You have to keep in mind the fact that Zuloaga was well aware of the fashions of Paris, and he was also friends with the Catalan Modernists (Romeu, Casas, Utrillo, and Rusiñol among others), who exhibited his ceramics in Els Quatre Gats in Barcelona.
Círculo de Bellas Artes
In the Círculo de Bellas Artes in the Gran Vía sits these ceramic works by Juan Zuloaga Estringana (1884 San Sebastián – 1968 Segovia), the son of Daniel Zuloaga. The works include the great relief in black of the head of Minerva in the facade of the Calle del Marqués de Casa Riera and a huge fountain in the interior, also in black, made together in 1926 by order and design of the architect Antonio Palacios, a friend of the ceramist. This is yet another key stop in this tour of the Tiled Monuments of Daniel Zuloaga.
Edificio Grassy (Grassy Building)
At the address Gran Via, 1, near the famous Edificio de Metropolis, Zuloaga made the decorations of the façade with panels of cut windows (instead of square panels, they are cut corresponding to images, like stained glass). The building was originally constructed in 1916-1917 by the architect Eladio Laredo as a home for D. Luis Ocharán Mazas, industrialist, entrepreneur, photographer, and writer (a little known character) and one of the great patrons and friends of Zuloaga.
Casa de Tomás Allende (House of Thomas Allende)
We end the tour with the Casa de Tomás Allende. Situated at the corner of the Carrera de San Jerónimo and the Plaza de Canalejas, also known as Credit Lyonnais, this emblematic building was commissioned as a house by Tomás de Allende, and it was constructed by Rucabado, Saiz, and Cabello in 1916 and 1917. Daniel Zuloaga made the ceramic decorations in reliefs on the tower and the door of the Casa de Allende, giving an important touch of color and originality.
More Information: Daniel Zuloaga Boneta (1852-1921)