June 07, 2024

Josep Almar, Museu del Rat Penat de Mascanada / El Rat Penat Museum of Mascanada

 all images courtesy of Dominique Clement, as on Facebook

Near the small valley Mascanada in the countryside west of Sant Feliu de Guíxols, a town of almost 22,000 inhabitants (2016) in Catalonia, Spain, not far from the border with France, there is a museum called Rat Penat Museum of Mascanada

The decorated building shown above is part of the site where the museum is located.

Created by the museum's owner, Josep Almar, these decorations are so numerous and of such a signature that all together they form a special art environment.

Life and works

Josep Almar was born in Sant Feliu de Guixols in 1949. He left primary school a year earlier than usual and subsequently he had all kinds of professions, such as mechanic, electrician and plumber.

In 1972, when he was 27, Josep married Mariángela Sayols Dausa. They had a daughter and a son.

Almar wanted to build a beautiful house, something like a palace, for his family. To this end, he bought a piece of land in 1974 near the Mascanada  Valley. There, helped by some friends, he built a two-storey house.

After 15 years, of marriage, Josep and his wife separated, without an official divorce, because Mariangela wanted to live again in the center of Sant Feliu de Guíxols. Probably a few years later his son and daughter also started living independently and then Almar lived alone in the house.

He had developed a hobby involving collecting objects and instruments in all kinds of areas, such as old machines, tools and scale models of ships.

And now he got the idea to turn the house into a museum, where he could exhibit his collection

Almar transformed the five rooms of the living area of ​​the house into museum halls, where he installed paintings his father had made and all the special items he had collected in previous years.

After years of preparation, the museum was officially opened on July 15, 2007. Almar was then 60 years old and in all likelihood he was retired by now

After seven years, in 2014, the museum was closed.
This probably had to do with the fact that Almar wanted to spend all his time in transforming the one hectare of land on which the museum was located, into an art environment.

However, from 2014 onwards it could happen that interested parties got access to the museum, but only if this was suitable for Almar in terms of realizing the art environment.

As the images in this article show, creating the art environment was an extensive project, which included not only decorating all kinds of buildings on the site, but also creating new decorative items, such as the animal in the image below.

Both the existing buildings and the stand-alone items are  lavishly decorated. 

Working with colored pieces of mosaic (trencadis in Spain) plays an important role and flower decorations are a popular item.

What will happen to the museum and the art environment if Almar is no longer here, has not yet been arranged. Family members have already indicated that they do not want a role in this. 

The municipality seems to be positive about a takeover, but nothing has been officially recorded yet and in addition, the municipality has mainly shown itself to be interested in some parts of the museum, and seems less interested in the maintenance of the entire complex.


* Weblog by Josep Almar, 2008-2016
* Facebook of the Rat Penat Museum
* Article (undated) by Anna Jurado on her website, with a series of photos
Article (June 2018) on local newspaper Guixols des del Carrer-ECP
Article (September 2019) in regional newspaper El Pont Avui
Article (June 2023) about Josep Almar's creation by Jo Farb Hernandez in her book 
   Singular Spaces II, pp 288-299
Article (August 2023) on the newspaper of Ràdio Capital, with a series of photos 

* Video (2015, YouTube, 8'37") by Josep Almar


Josep Almar
Rat Penat Museum of Mascanada
Camino de les Comes, 16
Sant Feliu de Guíxols, dept Girona, region Catalunya, Spain
visiting the museum only if Almar agrees
most decorations can be seen from the road
Google Streetview with some 250 photos

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