From the Archives

Antoni Tàpies

Antoni Tàpies

Lawrence Alloway
Published in 1962
32 pages, fully illustrated

The first American museum exhibition dedicated to the work of the Spanish artist, Antoni Tàpies, was held at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in 1962. Although Tàpies was only 39 years old, he had already gained recognition across Europe as a key figure in the development of art movements such as Art Informel. In the foreword to the exhibition catalogue, curator Lawrence Alloway suggests that this generation of Spanish artists should not be considered in relation to their own country, but to the general pattern of postwar art. Reflecting on his career, Alloway notes how Tàpies has certainly surpassed the categorization of solely existing and being recognized as a Spanish painter, becoming one of the best known artists of his generation. The catalogue includes several color and black-and-white reproductions, an exhibition checklist, a bibliography, and an exhibition history.


Tàpies does not create space in terms of a reconciliation between the facts of surface and an illusion of space and light, as a painter does. On the contrary, the sensation of space is blocked by the dense materiality of his means. This is what is meant by saying that Matter Painting's textures have a semi-sculptural status. However, there is a dimension of allusion in Tàpies work, but in terms of an image of time rather than of space. The corroded surfaces, fissures, and peeled areas convey a sense of stratification, of one level below another, which is rich in evoked antiquity.

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