Avant-garde Spanish artist Tapies dies at 88
BARCELONA - Agence France-Presse
Antoni Tapies was hailed as ‘the last great artist of the 20th century.’Avant-garde Spanish painter and sculptor Antoni Tapies, one of the biggest names in European contemporary art, died in Barcelona on Feb. 6 aged 88, his art foundation said.
Tapies was hailed as “the last great artist of the 20th century” by El Mundo newspaper for a career in which he gained worldwide renown with abstract canvases and compositions in material ranging from paint to discarded clothes.
Among his more controversial works was “The Sock,” a three meter-high model of a sock with a hole in its heel. The sock was a favorite motif of the artist, who said that art should be made from simple things.
Tributes immediately poured in with the director of the major Reina Sofia art museum in Madrid, Manuel Borja-Villel, hailing Tapies as “capable of creating a new language” in visual art.
Tapies was associated early on in his career with other major names in 20th-century art, including fellow Catalans Joan Miro and Salvador Dali.
He also met Picasso in France, according to the biography provided by the Antoni Tapies Foundation which he founded in his native Barcelona.
Like those other world-class Spanish artists, Tapies had his works widely exhibited in the United States and Europe.
In the 1960s Tapies took part in resistance against the regime of the dictator Francisco Franco, for which he was fined and briefly detained.
He later developed a strong interest in eastern spiritualism.
Spain’s King Juan Carlos conferred the title of Marquess on him in 2010.
The leader of the opposition Socialist Party, Alfredo Perez Rubalcaba, mourned Tapies in a statement released late Monday.
“Tapies was possibly the most important Spanish artist in the second half of the 20th century,” Rubalcaba said.
“Tapies was radically free in his creativity, and this freedom made itself known as much in his work as in his ethical commitment to society.”