La República Catalana

News Comment/COMENTARI AL DIA

The Tragedy of Fabia Estape/LA TRAGÈDIA DE FABIÀ ESTAPÉ

The Tragedy of Fabia Estape

by Josep C. Verges

Fabia Estape, Vice-Commissar for Development 1971-74 under Lopez Rodo and the Opus Dei “reformers” of Fascism. Below: Dali seeks the approval of Pla for his glorification of Gala as Leda visited by Zeus as a swan.

 

Fabia Estape from Port Bou was a genius born of the same limpid endless Tramontana wind that made Josep Pla write and Salvador Dali paint like feverishly possessed. But Fabia Estape was a tragic figure. Pla and Dali found their publisher or wife who brought order to their genius crazed by a wind that drives people off centre. Estape was the lonely misunderstood, without someone to take him down to earth and turn his undoubted genius into a creative, useful and durable opus.

 

The only thing that remains of Estape are his off the cuff quotes, very funny and popular, but that, as he himself acknowledged, had done him more harm than good. When he explained at the Institute of Catalan Studies how he told the “reformers” of the regime that Europe would never answer their letter because it carried “too many postage stamps of Franco” he was right on the mark, but he closed doors in Madrid despite his daughter being married withion the Opus Dei who ran the show. He ended the anecdote by admitting sadly: “My words have always let me down badly.” Actually what harmed him most was not having a publisher like my father Josep Verges Matas who put order into Pla’s stream of words and tirades, or a cold calculating woman like Gala who let Dali work in peace, but always in control of the next sale. Fabia Estape was more the voluble farmer entertaining passers-by at the market but failing to close on any business. How much better off Estape would have been with a bit more discipline! My father portrayed him in the invented explanation about me that he wrote to Josep Pla: “I’ll be all next week in England. I want to try to get my eldest son into the the School of Economics at Cambridge. I decided to do so because the Faculty of Economics in Barcelona is total chaos. In addition I must admit that I do not believe Estape is someone capable of directing anything. It’s sad to say but the University of Barcelona, since Vicens Vives died, has lost its steerage and it will take fifty years to find another Vicens. The political and cultural void left by this man is overwhelming and I personally miss him more every day. The possibility of finding someone who listens and gives a plausible interpretation of events is impossible. There are only fools and overblown ambitious mediocrities.” How sad that Catalonia marginalises genius. Gaudi was deeply hated until the bourgeoisie discovered he was big business. Dali made a name for himself abroad like Picasso or Miro. Josep Pla has been completely silenced, the greatest writer we shall ever have. Can one imagine the English silencing Shakespeare? And Fabia Estape has left us nothing. His great passion was Idelfons Cerda, another man boycotted by the mediocrities. Nothing ever came of this. When I asked him to do a talk about another forgotten figure, Joan Sarda Dexeus, the father of economic liberalization, Estape confused him with the engineer of the Barcelona grid. We never came to an agreement because I could see that it was impossible for him to focus on an important issue like Sarda and freedom. But Estape was a man committed to freedom. When I wrote The Corrupters and the Corrupt about the origins of freedom in the School of Salamanca, he made the presentation. But I had to fetch him from his home, and he had already forgotten! He made a great impromptu speech. My book ended with a tribute to Estape, discussing his book about “the great Andalusian,” as he called him, Ibn Khaldun, an Arab liberal of the Middle Ages, contradictory as it may seem. When I invited him to speak at the Institute of Catalan Studies, the great baroque hall of Convalescent House was full of expectant people but we were all left disappointed. He had not prepared anything and just told anecdotes, none on the subject. A tragic man. A Catalan genius.

(“La tragèdia de Fabià Estapé,” by Josep C. Vergés, Diari de Girona, 3 February 2012)

 

La tragèdia de Fabià Estapé

per Josep C. Vergés

 

Dalí busca l’aprovació de Pla a la seva glorificació de Gala com a Leda visitada per Zeus de cigne. Primera foto: Fabià Estapé, vicecomissari de desenvolupament 1971-74 sota Lòpez Rodó i els “reformadors” del feixisme de l’Opus Dei.

 

Fabià Estapé, de Port Bou, era un geni de la tramontana, el vent clar i interminable que feia escriure com un possès a Josep Pla i pintar com un boig a Salvador Dalí. Però Fabià Estapé va ser un home tràgic. Pla i Dalí trobaren l’editor o la dona que els va fer posar ordre al seu geni esbojarrat pel vent que deixa a tothom tocat de l’ala. Estapé va ser l’incomprés solitari, sense ningú qui li fes anar de peus a terra i concretar la seva genialitat indubtable en una obra creativa, útil i perdurable.

 

De l’Estapé només queden les seves boutades, divertides i populars, però que ell mateix reconeixia li havien fet més mal que bé. Quan ens explicava a l’Institut d’Estudis Catalans com havia dit als “reformadors” del règim que la seva carta a Europa mai rebria resposta “por exceso de Franqueo”, tenia més raó que un sant, però se li tancaren les portes de Madrid, tot i la filla casada amb l’Opus que era qui manava. Ell acabava l’anècdota punxant dient tot trist: “Les meves paraules sempre m’han fet molt de mal.” En realitat el que li va fer més mal és no tenir un editor com el meu pare Josep Vergés Matas que posava ordre i concert a la rajada de paraules i exabruptes de Pla, o una dona freda i calculadora com Gala que deixés treballar tranquil a Dalí, sabent-lo sempre vendre. Fabià Estapé era com el voluble pagès del mercat que distreu els passavolants, però que no sap tancar cap negoci. Qué bé li hauria anat a Estapé una mica més de disciplina! El meu pare el retrata a la seva excusa inventada que escriu a Josep Pla: ”Jo, tota la setmana que ve seré fora a Anglaterra. Vaig a veure si puc fer entrar el meu noi gran a l’escola d’Economics de Cambridge. He decidit fer-ho perquè tot això de la Facultat d’Economia de Barcelona és un cafarnaum considerable. A més confesso que no crec que l’Estapé sigui un home capaç de dirigir res. És trist dir-ho però la Universitat de Barcelona, mort en Vicens Vives, ha quedat desarbolada i d’homes com en Vicens costarà cinquanta anys trobar-ne un altre. El buit polític i cultural que ha deixat aquest home és espantós i jo, personalment, el trobo a faltar més cada dia. La possibilitat de trobar ara un home que t’escolti i que doni una interpretació plausible dels fets és impossible. Només hi ha que folls o petits ambiciosos bufats.” Que trist que Catalunya arraconi els seu genis. Gaudí era odiat fins que la burgesia descobrí que era un gran negoci. Dalí es va fer fora igual que Picasso o Miró. Josep Pla ja veieu com és silenciat, el més gran escriptor que tindrem mai. Us imagineu els anglesos silenciant Shakespeare? I Fabià Estapé no ha deixat res. La seva gran passió era Idelfons Cerdà, un altre arraconat per la mediocritat benpensant. Tot va quedar en no res. Quan li vaig demanar que fes una conferència sobre un altre gran oblidat, Joan Sardà Dexeus, el pare de la liberalització econòmica, Estapé el va confondre amb l’enginyer de la Barcelona quadriculada. No ens posárem d’acord perquè jo ja veia que era impossible centrar-lo en un tema important com era Sardà i la llibertat. Estapé era un home compromés amb la llibertat. Quan vaig escriure Corruptors i Corruptes sobre els orígens de la llibertat en l’Escola de Salamanca, ell va fer la presentació. Això sí vaig haver d’anar-lo a buscar a casa seva, i ja s’en havia oblidat! Va fer una xerrada improvisada magnífica. El meu llibre acaba amb un homenatge a Estapé, parlant del seu llibret sobre “el genial andalusí,” com li deia, Ibn Jaldun, un àrab liberal de l’Edat Mitjana per contradictori que sembli. Quan el vaig invitar a parlar d’ell a l’Institut dEstudis Catalans, amb la gran sala barroca de la Casa de Convalescència plena i expectant, ens va deixar a tots amb un pam de nas. No havia preparat res i no passà de les anècdotes, cap d’elles sobre el tema. Un home tràgic. Un geni català.

(“La tragèdia de Fabià Estapé,” per Josep C. Vergés, Diari de Girona, 3 febrer 2012)

 

3 February 2012 - Posted by | Culture/Cultura, Economy/Economia, News comment/Comentari al dia | , ,

2 Comments »

  1. Josep, un article excel·lent sobre l’Estapé. Enhorabona.

    Like

    Comment by Salvador | 3 February 2012 | Reply

  2. Josep: L’has clavat! Enhorabona.

    Like

    Comment by Josep Maria | 3 February 2012 | Reply


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