1923 - 2012 · Spain
Antoni Tàpies was a Spanish artist, associated with the most relevant 20th-century art movements and mainly known for his socially and politically charged mixed-media paintings that incorporate marble dust, soil, stones and found objects.
In the late 1940s, Tàpies was one of the founders of the Spanish movement Dau al Set, strongly connected with Surrealism and Dadaism, and began his career under the influence of Paul Klee and Joan Miró. He later joined the Art Informel movement turning toward an increasingly abstract style. In the 1950s he delved into the exploration of the transformative qualities of matter using varied media and techniques that led him to develop the style he is best know for. His fame progressively increased and so did the scale of his works which began to include everyday objects such as furniture, doors and personal assemblages.
Born in Barcelona in 1923, Antoni Tàpies was brought up in the cultured and political context of Catalan republicanism and both the tragedy of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39) as well as the suffering due to tuberculosis left unforgettable marks in his life. After studying law for 3 years he devoted himself exclusively to art and his international reputation was well established by the end of the 1950s. The artist died in Barcelona in 2012.
During his career, Tàpies was awarded several prizes such as the UNESCO and David E. Bright Prizes at the Venice Biennale in 1958, and Spain's most prestigious art award, the Velázquez prize, in 2003 among others. Since his first solo show in 1950, his works have been displayed in several exhibitions with major retrospectives at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York (1963), the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris (1973), the Guggenheim Museum SoHo in New York (1995), and Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid (2000), just to mention a few. They are currently part of several public collections including the Fundació Antoni Tàpies Museum in Barcelona (established in the artist's name in 1990), the Reina Sofia National Museum in Madrid, the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Tate Gallery in London.