b. 1880 Cabrils, Spain
d. 1959 Cabrils, Spain




VEB Portrait

Josefa Tolrà was a peasant woman in a small village north of Barcelona where she was known as “Pepeta”. She lost her two sons, one before, the other after the Spanish Civil War. The death of the second son was particularly traumatic for her. Josefa Tolrà began to hear voices and someone recommended that she draw what haunted her. Her fears subsided as a result, and when, around 1940, at the age of 60, “beings of light” appeared to her, transmitting to her transmissions from the world beyond and instructing her to draw, she began to create works of poetic ingenuity and high suggestive power.

Josefa Tolrà saw herself as a medium of these entities, as their earthly tool. In trance-like states, she drew on small and large sheets of paper and in notebooks, often incorporating texts in Catalan and Spanish.

In these altered states of consciousness, Josefa Tolrà also saw places and scenes unknown to her, which she later captured in her drawings. She had enjoyed only a simple school education and spoke Catalan and knew hardly any Spanish. Nevertheless, she now wrote texts on special subjects such as the theory of colors, Christ, Napoleon or the poet Jacint Verdaguer. Josefa Tolrà also embroidered cloth and was considered a healer among the villagers.

The Catalan avant-garde of those years took an interest in her creations and, at almost eighty years of age, she exhibited her drawings at the Sala Gaspar in Barcelona in 1956.



The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid (ES), has an extensive collection of Josefa Tolrà's works.

2020 La médium y el poeta. Una conversación astral entre Josefa Tolrà y Joan Brossa. Fondació Joan Brossa, Barcelona (ES) 6 Feb – 31 May 2020
2019 Alma: Mediums and Visionaries. Es Baluard Museum, Palma de Mallorca (ES) 15 Feb 2019 – 2 Jun 2019
2013 Josefa Tolrà. Dibujo fuerza fluídica. Can Palautet, Mataró (ES) 21 Dec 2013 – 30 Mar 2014



Bonat, Pilar. El Pensamiento Lateral del Arte Contemporáneo. Josefa Tolrà, Médium y Artista (1880-1959). BRAC - Barcelona Research Art Creation. Vol. 2 No. 3, October 2014, pp. 256-276.
Bonet, Pilar. Josefa Tolrà. Mèdium i artista, ACM Associació per a la Cultura i l’Art Contemporani i Ajuntament de Mataró, Mataró, 2014.
Mora Sánchez, Josefa F. "Josefa Tolrà y el dibujo mediúmnico." El Genio Maligno: revista de humanidades y ciencias sociales, 20, 2017, pp. 90-97.

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