Rose Is a Rose Is a Rose…

When I first saw this house I instantly thought of this line from Gertrude Stein. Stein said she wanted to illustrate that using a word invokes images and emotions associated with that word. By a weird twist of faith and words, her “Rose is a rose is a rose” became synonym to the annoying phrase “it is what it is”.

So one day I got in front of this seamlessly decorated house. Little is known about it, only that it was built sometimes between 1911 and 1929 – but, on the other hand, I find this mystery to be quite appealing. I am trying to imagine who would have thought to create such a bold combination of two entire storeys covered up in hundreds of red roses, matched with cobalt-blue balconies, dark green wooden shades, rounded balconies at the corner, wrought iron rails, and brick accents.

Yes, the time when the house was built is generous in floral references, regarded as a staple of the Modernist Barcelona, and found everywhere from sgraffito to stained glass works, stone details and ceramics. But this house really says it boldly. By the way, in Stein’s poem, Rose is actually a person, so I’d like to think this house was built for a special person.


“Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.” by Gertrude Stein

Place in pets.
Night town.
Night town a glass.
Color mahogany.
Color mahogany center.
Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.
Loveliness extreme.
Extra gaiters.
Loveliness extreme.
Sweetest ice-cream.
Page ages page ages page ages.
Wiped Wiped wire wire.
Sweeter than peaches
and pears and cream.
Wiped wire wiped wire.
Extra extreme.
Put measure treasure.
Measure treasure.
Tables track.
Nursed.
Dough.
That will do.

Excerpt from the 370-lines long poem Sacred Emily published in the 1922 book Geography and Plays. Read it all via Gutenberg Project.

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