Albert Ràfols-Casamada (2 February 1923 – 17 December 2009) was a Catalan painter, engraver, poet and art teacher involved in the vanguard movements of his time. He is considered one of the most important, multifaceted Catalan artists of his time. His artwork began in the post-expressionist, figurative sphere but soon developed into his own abstract style grounded in a poetic rendering of everyday reality.
Ràfols-Casamada began studying architecture at the University of Barcelona (1942–44), but by 1948, he had definitively decided on quitting his architecture studies to take up painting professionally.
He began exhibiting his artwork in 1946 at the Sala Pictòria in Barcelona, in a group exhibit of the artists’ collective Els Vuit (“The Eight”, comprised by the poet Jordi Sarsanedas, the sculptor Miquel Gusils, the musician Joan Comellas and the painters Joan Palà, Maria Girona, Ricardo Lorenzo, Vicenç Rossell and himself) and he continued to exhibit regularly from then until his death. He received a scholarship from the French government to study art in Paris in 1950, together with the painter Maria Girona, and other Catalan artists such as Josep Guinovart, Antoni Tàpies and Xavier Valls, and spent most of the next 4 years there before returning to Catalonia. He exhibited widely throughout Europe and North and South America.
He began writing poetry in 1939, writing in parallel to his art activities, and began publishing in 1972, when the limited-edition volume, Com una capsa, came out. In 1976, the anthology Signe d’aire. Obra poètica 1968–1978 came out to great critical acclaim. He continued publishing his poetry until the year 2004, when the last volume, Dimensions del present (2001–2004) came out.
In 1967, together with Maria Girona and other Catalan intellectuals, he co-founded the art and design school EINA – in the Bauhaus tradition – in Barcelona, which he directed for 17 years. He also taught art there and in other places.
Ràfols-Casamada exhibited worldwide and his works are present in many museums throughout the world, including, among others, the Guggenheim Museum in New York, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, the British Museum in London, the Mie Prefectural Art Museum in Japan, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid, the IVAM in València, and in Barcelona, the Fundació Joan Miró, MNAC as well as the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA).
As a writer, Albert Ràfols-Casamada was particularly known for his poetry, though he also wrote some of his thoughts on art in art theory pieces and in his diaries. The great majority of his work was written in Catalan. He published texts and artwork in periodicals such as El País and El Món, and such art and cultural magazines as Ampit, Arc Voltaic, Ariel, Artilugi, Cairell, Kalías, Le Hangar Éphémère, Negre+Siena, Oc, Papers impresos, Reduccions and Serra d’Or.
Apart from some of his own poetry books, Ràfols-Casamada illustrated a significant number of books.