The missing monument to Primo de Rivera

The missing monument to Primo de Rivera
The missing monument to Primo de Rivera

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The now-disappeared monument dedicated to remembering and honouring the memory of José Antonio Primo de Rivera was erected to perpetuate the memory of the founder of the now-defunct Spanish Falange.

José Antonio Primo de Rivera was born in Madrid on April 24, 1903. During his short life he was a lawyer and politician and the son of Miguel Primo de Rivera, a Spanish military man who, among other things, was Captain General of Catalonia and the general who, apart from ordering the closure of the former Les Corts field of the Barcelona Football Club, proclaimed the Republic that meant the exit from exile of Alfonso XIII of Spain (in other words, it was a coup d’état).

José Antonio Primo de Rivera, who shared his father’s ideas during the Second Republic, founded the Spanish Falange on October 23, 1933, a party with far-right ideas that wanted change in Spain.

The government of the Republic, aware of these intentions, ordered his arrest and imprisonment in the Alicante prison to prevent any attempt at a coup on his part.

However, while he was in prison, General Francisco Franco staged a coup d’état, for which he was tried for conspiracy and military rebellion against the government and sentenced to death. He was shot on 20 November 1936.

On the occasion of the 31st anniversary of the founding of the Falange, and 25th of the end of the civil war, José María de Porcioles, mayor of Barcelona, ​​decided to erect a monument in the centre of the old Paseo de Infanta Carlota, at the junction with the Sarrià road, in memory of the founder of the Falange.

Porcioles asked the architect Jordi Estrany to design a monument with black marble cladding, with a pond in front. The project consisted of two large façades and two narrow ones to give volume to the monument. To decorate the two large façades, Porcioles asked the sculptor and draughtsman Jordi Puiggalí i Clavell to create two reliefs, one on each side.

On the main front, Puiggalí represented work through the figures of fishermen, artisans, farmers and workers. On the back, he made two reliefs, one of which showed the figure of a soldier wounded in combat whose body was watched over by three women. The other relief evoked the resurrection of the soldier along with an inscription that read “Barcelona to José Antonio”.

The inauguration took place on October 29, 1964, and was attended by José Antonio’s sister, Pilar Primo de Rivera, delegate of the Women’s Section, accompanied by Mayor José María de Porcioles, Minister of Movement José Solís Ruiz, and the Civil Governor, Antonio Ibáñez Freire.

As was logical at that time, after the applause, José María de Porcioles spoke first, followed by his sister, thanking the people for the monument offered to José Antonio.

Pilar Primo de Rivera said among other things:

At this time when we are inaugurating a beautiful monument to José Antonio in Barcelona, ​​I would like, on behalf of those of us who remain in the family, to thank all those who with their initiatives or their intervention have made the execution of the idea possible, but also all the comrades from Barcelona and those who have come from other provinces, to honour the figure of José de Antonio with this act.

It was a time when there were those loyal to the regime who were in favour of the monument and others who did not understand the cost of building such a majestic work at a time when there were more essential needs, especially when 28 years had passed since his death and 25 after the end of the civil war.

Front page of ‘La Vanguardia’ on the inauguration of the monument to Primo de Rivera.

The Vanguard Archive

The vanguard, At that time, “Española” devoted its front page and the next two pages to commenting on the event and the speeches given. Naturally, hundreds of people attended.

With Franco’s death and the first attempts at democracy, the first democratic mayors did not dare to completely remove the monument inaugurated in 1964.

Narcís Serra, who always acted by swimming and keeping his clothes on, limited himself to eliminating the unequivocal signs of the Falange: the yoke and the arrows and the bronze effigy of José Antonio Primo de Rivera.

It thus remained as a kind of monument to all the martyrs of the war, although this interpretation was little or not at all convincing given the unequivocal symbolism that the monument had represented over the years.

The second major problem with the monument is that it was planned to remove the name of the avenue from the name of Infanta Carlota and later convert the avenue into Josep Tarradellas. Finally, in February 2009, work began on the definitive demolition of the monument to José Antonio.


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