Tàpies, Antoni

Antoni Tàpies was born in Barcelona on 13 December 1923 and died on 6 February 2012. Today, the Catalan is one of the most important contemporary painters. Starting from surrealist beginnings, he became a pioneer of Informel, Conceptual Art and Arte Povera. Tàpies pursued his own unmistakable pictorial language: a painting of punctuation and securing traces, reduction and assemblage. Antoni Tàpies' path began with a law degree. In 1942, a heart and lung condition made a stay in a sanatorium in the mountains a necessity. Tàpies began to draw. He briefly attended the Nolasc Valls art academy. From 1946 he devotes himself entirely to painting and gives up his law studies. Studio in the Calle Jaime in Barcelona. In 1947 he meets the poet Joan Brossa and the collector Joan Prats (Miró's friend). Dau al Set is founded. First exhibitions. Scholarship from the French government: one year's stay in Paris. 1950/51: Examination of the emerging Tachisme and informal painting. Travels to the USA. 1953 first pictures with impasto application of paint with the addition of cement and sand; 1954 Tàpies meets the writer Michel Tapié. The piercing and cutting of the painting support becomes a signal, leads to a scandal. The step into space from painting to object is completed and the conceptual art movement is initiated. Soon Tàpies was using cardboard, string, unusually poor materials for his book search, and Arte Povera found its first works. At the same time, in 1959, the Sala Gaspar Barcelona published the artist's first lithographs. The print oeuvre becomes an important medium. In the lithographs as in the etchings, the elementary formations of painting, the dark grounds, embossments, traces, but also classical signs, ciphers and letters become apparent. With his work, Tàpies emphatically advocates the freedom of artistic language as well as the freedom of Catalonia and its culture. His biographical and art-critical writings are a living document of Tàpies' intellectual stance and belong to the most distinguished artists' writings of our time and are at the same time a centrepiece of Catalan intellectual life (cf. Editionen Erker Verlag St. Gallen). Exhibitions all over the world, honours and prizes confirm the work. In 1987, the artist founded the Fundació Antoni Tàpies in Barcelona with its spacious museum and East Asian library. The foundation publishes the artist's catalogues raisonnés and writings and maintains its own printing workshop.
This biography is subject to copyright. (c) Evi Kliemand, 1998. All rights reserved. Reproduced with kind permission of the author.