Guillem Bestard

The crème of the intelligentsia

The photographic legacy of Guillem Bestard (Pollensa, 1881-1969) speaks to us of the splendour and everyday scenes of a Mallorca that no longer exists.

Paseo de la Riba, Palma 1920.
Puerto de Pollensa, 1930.

One afternoon towards the end of the 19th century, in a small lodging house in Pollensa, a child who was a short distance away from a group of intellectuals gathered around a table listened intently, without missing a single word of what was being said. The child’s name was Guillem Bestard, and the guesthouse which welcomed Spanish and foreign painters, writers and intellectuals, was owned by his parents.

This is where the story of one of the forerunners of photography in Mallorca begins, a man who elevated it to an art. One of those illustrious guests, a German gentleman, taught Guillem the rudimentary notions: how to frame, how to develop, how to choose the best light... Bearing in mind that back then – more than 120 years ago – photographers had to cover their heads with a black cloth to frame the image, and then cover and uncover the lens, the precision of the artist was of the utmost importance.

It was this German gentleman who gave Guillem his first camera, and his parents bought the neighbouring house, which he immediately turned into a photographic laboratory. At the same time, this space became a cultural meeting place where poetry recitals, piano concerts and intellectual gatherings occupied a prominent place on the agenda.

Guillem Bestard photographed the beginnings of tourism in Mallorca, and bore witness to the trades, the traditions, the everyday life and the main events of the island. His lens captured poses by artists as important as Joaquín Sorolla, Santiago Rusiñol, Anglada Camarassa or Tito Cittadini, among others.

And he was an innovator too, creating a new type of [...]


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Paseo de la Riba, Palma 1920.
Puerto de Pollensa, 1930.
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