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Antoni Tąpies

Antoni Tąpies

*  1923 Barcelona
† 2012 Barcelona

The Spanish artist Antoni Tąpies (complete name: Antoni Tąpies i Puig) was born in Barcelona on December 23, 1923. His great love for art and literature shows from an early point on. While recovering from pneumonia for quite some time, he starts drawing and painting. In 1944 he picks up studying law which he then breaks off in 1946, in order to entirely turn to art. His early paintings seek orientation on works by artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee and Joan Miró. After a period with an emphasis on Surrealism and Dada, his works become more and more abstract. The painting "Zoom" (1947) marks the beginning of his programmatic work, typical for his later productions. Along with other artists, Antoni Tąpies founds the artists group "Dau als Set" in 1948, of which he will become the main representative.
He receives a scholarship from the French government in 1950 which enables him to stay in Paris. He also has his first one-man show in Barcelona the same year. In 1951 he goes on journeys to Belgium and the Netherlands. A year later he stays in New York for some time where he also exhibits some of his works. Antoni Tąpies participates in the Venice Biennale in 1958, which marks his international breakthrough. He shows works at the Kassel documenta in 1959, 1964, 1968 and 1977.
Antoni Tąpies is regarded as the main representative of Spanish informal art. In his paintings he mixes materials such as sand, cement, marble dust and glue. He scrapes off the colors and applies them again making the surface looks like chapped stonework. Tąpies took some time to examine East Asian philosophies. In trying to find his expression he integrates single letters, symbols and crosses, but also objects or clothes. Antoni Tąpie's mixed media and mural paintings seem mysterious, meditative. He, however, does not regard himself as an abstract artist, but as a realist who tries to make reality comprehensible in his works.
Antoni Tąpies found the "Fundació Antoni Tąpies" in Barcelona in 1984, which is also where he lives and works today with his more than eighty years of age.