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Antoni Tàpies: 1923—: Artist

Became Elder Statesman Of Spanish Art

In his later years Tàpies became increasingly interested in Eastern philosophies, particularly Zen Buddhism. He viewed his art as an extension of his personal beliefs, describing himself in the interview with Ibañez as "an anxious person. I worry about everything. I need to know everything. I tend to live in a state of anxiety with the feeling that life is some kind of great catastrophe." This attitude compels him, he told the UNESCO Courier writer, "to do something useful for society, and that is what stimulates me." He elaborated further in the New York Times profile, telling Schumacher, "My illusion is to have something to transmit. If I can't change the world, at least I want to change the way people look at it. There is a crisis of values today. In the spread of modernity, we have made great technological advances, but man at the same time has become more cruel than ever, destroys more than ever."

In 1984 the artist established the Tàpies Foundation in Barcelona, which formally opened with a museum and library in 1990. It holds some 2,000 works of his—though the actual career output is well above 7,000—as well as art from such masters as Louise Bourgeois, Brassaï, and Diego Rivera. The building has a tangled-wire sculpture atop it, designed by Tàpies. He has won several prestigious commissions from the government of Barcelona or its cultural institutions.

Tàpies married Teresa Barbara in 1954, and they have three grown children. He lives in a Barcelona home that has a work studio for him, and he also retreats each summer to a country house in Campins and paints there. In March of 2003 he was honored at New York City's Pace-Wildenstein Gallery in an 80th birthday retrospective.

Selected writings

El pa a la Braca, with poems by J. Brossa, Sala Gaspar (Barcelona, Spain), 1963.

La practica de l'art, Barcelona, 1970.

Suite Catalana: Poems from de Catalan, with poems by J. Brossa, introductory text by Arthur Terry and Roland Penrose, Polígrafa (Barcelona, Spain), 1973.

L'art contre L'estetica, Barcelona, 1974.

Dialogo sobre arte, cultura y sociedad, with Imma Julian, Barcelona, 1977.

Memorial personal, autobiography, Barcelona, 1978.

Conversaciones con Tàpies, with Miguel FernandezBrasso, Madrid, 1981.



Contemporary Artists, fourth edition, St. James Press, 1996.

Dictionary of Hispanic Biography, Gale Research, 1996.


New York Times, January 29, 1990, p. C1725; January 26, 1995, p. C13; January 27, 1995, p. C25; March 14, 2003, p. E41.

Progressive Architecture, May 1993, p. 78.

Publishers Weekly, April 27, 1992, p. 243.

UNESCO Courier, June 1994, p. 4.

—Carol Brennan

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Brief BiographiesBiographies: Nate Smith Biography - Fought His Way into the Union to Theodosius II BiographyAntoni Tàpies: 1923—: Artist Biography - Joined Avant-garde Group, Career Languished Briefly, Became Elder Statesman Of Spanish Art