Antoni Cumella (Granollers, Catalonia, 1913-1985) profoundly transformed the volumetric language of ceramics. Cumella was born into a ceramic making family, and studied under Josep Maria Jujol and Josep Lluís Sert. He held his first solo exhibition in 1936. His active involvement in the Republican cause as a medical officer on the Aragon front and in Valencia during the Spanish Civil War led to his imprisonment in a concentration camp in Valencia. For years afterwards, he was deprived of his civil rights.
Although early in his career he focused on objectual ceramics and introduced the new informalist line of research into his practice, in 1953 he began making his first glazed ceramic plates, which later evolved towards sculptures and sculptural murals. His unflagging experimentation with forms, textures, tones and shades led him towards the pictorial field and architectural language. In 1958 he and Alexandre Cirici participated in the constitution of the first museum of contemporary art of Barcelona, and in 1959 Cumella, Cirici and Romà Vallès founded the FAD Art School in Barcelona.
In 1955, Cumella held his first major exhibition at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Madrid, which was soon followed by his first exhibition in Germany – jointly with Joan Miró – at the Städtischen Kunstsammlungen in Bonn in 1956. From 1962 onwards, he mainly exhibited in Germany and Switzerland, although he also had shows in Paris, Washington, Bilbao and Madrid. His works can be found in numerous museums, and his murals can be seen on several buildings: at the Law Faculty, University of Barcelona (in collaboration with J. M. Subirachs, 1959), at the Spanish Pavilion for the New York World's Fair (1962-1964) and at the headquarters of the company Sandoz in Barcelona (1972). The Museu de Granollers organised a retrospective of his work in 2005.