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Short Biography

Antoni Tàpies (Barcelona, 1923-2012)

Antoni Tàpies’ first artistic attempts began during a long convalescence following a serious illness, after which his increasing dedication to painting and drawing led him to abandon his university education. By the 1940s, he was already exhibiting work that distinguished him among the artistic scene of the moment. Co-founder of the magazine Dau al Set in 1948, and influenced by Miró and Klee, he became increasingly interested in iconographic and magical subjects. He gradually began to incorporate geometrical elements and colour studies leading to an interest in matter through the use of heavily textured canvases of great expressive and communicative possibilities. With these works, Tàpies achieved international recognition by the mid-1950s. In the 1960s, he began incorporating new iconographic elements (writing, signs, anthropomorphic elements, footprints and references to the Catalan situation), and new technical methods (new surfaces, use of everyday objects and varnish). Tàpies’ pictorial language has continued to develop ever since, resulting in a creative and productive body of work that is admired throughout the world.

He has exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Institute of Contemporary Art and the Serpentine and Hayward Galleries, London; the Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin; the Kunstahaus, Zurich: the Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Jeu de Paume and the Centre Pompidou, Paris; the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; the Institut Valencià d’Art Modern, Valencia; and the Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona, among many other prestigious institutions.

In parallel to his artistic production, Tàpies is also the author of numerous publications: La pràctica de l’art (1970), L’art contra l’estètica (1974), Memòria personal (1977), La realitat com a art (1982), Per un art modern i progressista (1985), Valor de l’art (1993) and L’art i els seus llocs (1999).

Antoni Tàpies created the Fundació Antoni Tàpies in 1984 with the aim of promoting the study and knowledge of contemporary art, paying special attention to art’s role in forming the conscience of modern man.

Antoni Tàpies. Campins, 2002. © Photograph: Martí Gasull, 2008