Centenary Exhibition 1923-2023
This year marks the first centenary of the purchase of the Peraladian monumental complex by Damián Mateu, a perceptive businessman who, after searching around Barcelona for a summer home for his son Miguel and his daughter-in-law Julia Quintana, leaned for the Empordà monumental complex. This one dispose of all the imagined requirements and an incomparable historical baggage.
This is how the house, so well restored and equipped by the Rocabertís, became the second home of the Mateu Quintana family. Peralada allowed Miguel Mateu to display his love for collecting; With the collaboration of his wife, he expanded the artistic heritage with the endowment of extraordinary pieces of furniture, an art gallery, glass, goldsmiths and tapestries, also proceeding to the expansion of some collections already started by the counts such as that of Vicente López, that of mortars, that of numismatics and the library. Several of the main existing bibliographical collections are owed to him: The Executory of Nobility; the Cervantine Collection; that of Incunabula; that of Gozos; as well as the purchase of codices, cantorals and manuscripts.
In addition to increasing the artistic and cultural heritage, he ventured into new business projects that provided stable employment to many Peraladians. Four years after the purchase of the Castle, Miguel Mateu lays the foundations of what will become one of the best wine companies in Catalonia: “Cavas del Ampurdán”. Firstly in the premises of the Convento del Carmen and, over the years, a new building is built in the old eucalyptus of the counts, just in front of the castle towers. The second major investment made in Peralada was the complex known as “La Granja”, a building designed by Adolf Florensa in 1941, with a double function: that of exploiting cattle and horses, and that of housing families of workers.
His daughter Carmen Mateu together with her husband Arturo Suqué, represent the third family generation in Peralada. The Suqué Mateu couple is in charge of diversifying the performances and opening the collections to the public. The most important objectives were those dedicated to culture and leisure with the opening of the Museum, the creation of the Casino, that of the Festival Internacional de Música, that of Golf and the promotion of wine and gastronomy. As a result, the name of Peralada crosses borders and becomes known internationally.
The fourth generation continues to export the name of the villa. During the years 2022 and 2023 two transcendental actions have taken place: the inauguration of the Hispano Suiza space in the Museum and the transformation of La Granja into the new Bodega, both attracting hundreds of visitors, some fans of the name of the mythical brand and the automobile world and, others, to viticulture and wine tourism.
© Inés Padrosa