Born 1923, Barcelona, Spain; died 2012
Antoni Tàpies is from Barcelona, and his Catalan heritage is deeply important to his work. He grew up in the midst of the Spanish Civil War. Essentially a self-taught artist, his work flourished as he simultaneously became more political, joining an underground group of artists who published the review Dau al Set.
Influenced by Surrealists such as Max Ernst and by fellow countryman Joan Miró, his work ultimately became very material and textural – an homage of sorts to the Catalan landscape and its solidity despite persecution under Franco. Tàpies began exhibiting in the 1950s and his work was widely shown in Europe, the U.S., Japan, and South America beginning in the 1960s. The artist's dedication to transformative expressionism and potent imagery has defined his influential body of work, which includes extensive printmaking. In fact, the palpable quality and emphasis on surface of printmaking is critical to his philosophy of artmaking.
In 1992, The Museum of Modern Art in New York mounted a retrospective of his prints. In addition to a large collection of his works in his Fundació Antoni Tàpies in Barcelona, Tàpies is represented in important collections around the world such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid, and the Kunstmuseum Basel.