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Gaudí's death, on 7th June 1926, when he was struck by a tram while crossing a road, is generally described in narratives along the lines of 'the unkempt look of the wounded person made the onlookers delay with calling for assistance'. This is, for example, the story as provided on Wikipedia, with the first person who recognises Gaudí as Gaudí said to be Mosén Gil Parés on the following day. Wikipedia notes three books as sources for the above.

What I'm wondering is whether the few people who helped Gaudí realized they were assisting him? Alternatively, did any of the other onlookers (who didn't help) comment on their inaction after realizing it was Gaudí they ignored?


A more coherent narrative of Gaudí's death is provided here (translated from Spanish or Catalan based on the spelling (errors)—which I preserved for this copy as in the source):

The Catalan architect, key figure of modernism and one of the pioneers of the avant-garde of the twentieth century, is hit by a tram.Lying on the sidewalk, his unkempt appearance condemns him. He died three days later.

... The artist receives a terrible impact on the ribs and temple. Critically injured, he is lying on the ground unconscious.

His worn clothes, fastened with safety pins instead of buttons and dusty shoes that cover their wrapped in strips of cloth feet, give a poor appearance.

Most passersby, taking him for a beggar because of his unkempt appearance, denied their help. Only two of them are offered to assist him: Antonio Roig, managing the port, and Antonio Noria. They are trying unsuccessfully to arrest four taxis; the first three refuse to transport the wounded, fearful that the blood staining the upholstery of their vehicles. The fourth not even stop to see the body lying on the sidewalk.

A policeman approaches the tumult surrounding the artist and imposing his authority, requires a taxi to take him. To ensure that it will be properly cared for, he rises to the vehicle. The officer ordered the old man to move to the nearby dispensary Round San Pedro, 37.

The logbook will record center cursory examination of the wounded: ‘trauma at the height of the right ear and commotion of the patient, who calls himself Antonio Gaudi … It seems that the artist is appreciated regained lucidity for a brief moment, long enough to provide their identity, so far unknown data because the artist was undocumented. In their pockets not wearing more than the book of the Gospels, a rosary, a handkerchief and the little key from his desk.

The doctor on duty, to the serious condition of the injured, ordered his transfer to Hospital after administering a spasmodic.

Finally the fate wants Gaudí is transferred to the Hospital de la Santa Creu, but it’s too late. The next day is recognized by the chaplain of the Sagrada Familia, Mosen Gil Parés, good friend.

This account seems to be a (machine or just poor) translation of the newsitem from La Vanguardia which also names the policeman as Ramón Pérez. A similar French narrative is here with items that look like newspaper cutouts, but I can't see (zoom to) when they are from.

What I'm wondering is whether Antonio Roig or Antonio Noria realized that it was Gaudí they were helping—and left an account of their own thoughts about the event. The policeman's notes shows that he had heard, but might not have believed the statement that the dying man was 'Antoni Gaudí' (or he might have had him taken to a better hospital to begin with). Did Ramón Pérez comment on this event at all? Or, did any of the other onlookers (noted in the above as "most passersby denied their help" or "la mayoría de los transeúntes le niegan su ayuda") comment on how they didn't help the old architect?

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  • 1
    A quick check of the Catalan & Spanish Wikipedias -- which would the be logical, if sometimes overlooked, next places to look -- offer no information that answers your question.
    – llywrch
    Nov 30 '20 at 16:57
  • 2
    Checking "La mort de Gaudí i el seu ressò a la revista "El Propagador de la devoción a San José"" only shows that the fifth taxi driver (the one that took him to the Dispensari), Ramón Cos, identified himself as such immediately after Gaudi's death. Also, I don't know her sources, but maybe you could check amf2010blog.blogspot.com/2019/10/… Nov 30 '20 at 18:25
  • Famous architect... guess beauty in eye of beholder..famous architect for what? Disney must have gotten inspiration from his style.
    – paulj
    Dec 3 '20 at 16:48
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Nice question. According to C.Martinell's book

Gaudí: his life, his theories, his work. — Cambridge, Massachusetts: The MIT Press, 1975.

pages 116-118, nobody kew, at first even in the hospital where Gaudi was taken after the accident. I do not see any reason to doubt Martinelli's account:

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P.S. Top-x lists normally should be taken with huge grain of salt, but in any reasonable list of most famous architects in history, Gaudi will be in the top 10. See for instance here, or here, or here, or here. He was definitely, the most famous architect in Span, ever.

Edit.

  1. In my answer I interpreted the question as about the reaction of bystanders at the time of the accident. I have no insight into who they were and what their reaction was after they heard the official news few days later and realized what they had witnessed earlier. Since, according to the book, cabbies were fined later on for refusing to transport Gaudi to the hospital, at least one of the eyewitnesses contacted the authorities after the accident, which might explain how this person (or these people) became known.

  2. According to the excerpt from the book above, Gaudi was registered as Antonio Sandi at the hospital, which suggests that if he did identify himself at the time of the accident, his name was garbled/misunderstood. But this is just one of several possible explanations.

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  • I like this narrative, because it is comprehensive, but it doesn't really identify the two onlookers which begs the question where they are known from. I'm not disagreeing with this answer, but there seem to be unanswered parts to it still in the air. Nevertheless, I'll likely accept this as the correct answer at this point.
    – gktscrk
    Dec 4 '20 at 6:02

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