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Antoni Tàpies i Puig , I Marqués de Tàpies (Barcelona, December 13, 1923 – ibid, February 6, 2012), was a painter, sculptor and theoretician of Spanish art. One of the leading exponents of informalism worldwide, is considered one of the most outstanding Spanish artists of the twentieth century. The work of the Catalan artist has a study and conservation center at the Antoni Tàpies Foundation in Barcelona.
Self-taught, Tàpies created his own style within the avant-garde art of the twentieth century, which combined tradition and innovation in an abstract but full of symbolism, giving great relevance to the material substrate of the work . It should be noted the marked spiritual sense given by the artist to his work, where the material support transcends his state to mean a deep analysis of the human condition.
The work of Tàpies has had a great valuation both nationally and internationally, being exposed in the most prestigious museums in the world. Throughout his career he has received numerous awards and distinctions, among which include the Prize of the Wolf Foundation of Arts (1981), the Gold Medal of the Generalitat of Catalonia (1983), the Prince of Asturias Award for las Artes (1990), the Picasso Medal of Unesco (1993) and the Velázquez Prize for Visual Arts (2003). In recognition of his artistic career, King Juan Carlos I granted him the title of Marquis of Tàpies on April 9, 2010.
“The work of Antoni Tàpies is within the tradition of these explosions that from time to time occur in our country and that move so many dead things. It is authentically Barcelonan with universal irradiation. That’s why I deserve all my admiration. “
The four chronicles, in the Tarradellas Room of the Palace of the Generalitat of Catalonia.
Tàpies was the son of lawyer Josep Tàpies i Mestres and Maria Puig i Guerra, daughter of a family of Catalan politicians. The profession of his father and the relations of his mother’s family with members of the Catalan political life fostered a liberal atmosphere during the childhood of the artist. Tàpies always remarked that the confrontation between his father’s anticlericalism and his mother’s orthodox Catholicism led him to a personal search for a new spirituality, which he found in Oriental philosophies and religions, mainly Zen Buddhism.
According to his own confession, his artistic vocation woke up with a Christmas issue of D’Ací i d’Allà magazine in 1934, which presented an extensive panorama of international modern art, one of the events that marked his life was his convalescence by consumption at age 18, a circumstance that made him rethink the meaning of his life, as well as his vocation, since during his recovery he devoted himself intensely to drawing. The febrile states that he suffered caused frequent hallucinations that would be paramount for the development of his work. During his stay in the sanatorium of Puig d’Olena (1942-1943) he took refuge in music (Wagner) and literature (Ibsen, Nietzsche, Thomas Mann), and made copies of Van Gogh and Picasso.
He combined his law studies at the University of Barcelona, which he had started in 1943, with his passion for art. He finally opted for painting and abandoned his studies in 1946. Self-taught, he only studied briefly at the Academy of Nolasc Valls, his first painting studio installed him in Barcelona in 1946.
In 1948 he was one of the founders of the magazine and movement known as Dau al Set, related to Surrealism and Dadaism. The leader of this movement was the Catalan poet Joan Brossa and, along with Tàpies, featured Modest Cuixart, Joan-Josep Tharrats, Joan Ponç, Arnau Puig and later Juan Eduardo Cirlot. The magazine lasted until 1956, but Tàpies had gone to Paris in 1950 and had left the group although he continued to collaborate sporadically on the publication.
The first works of Tàpies were framed within Surrealism, but from that distance he changed his style, becoming one of the main exponents of Informalism. Representative of the so-called “material painting”, Tàpies used for his works materials that are not considered as artistic, but rather of recycling or waste, such as ropes, paper or marble dust.
Plaque placed in the birthplace of Antoni Tàpies, Calle de la Canuda, Barcelona.