Antoni Tàpies: Paintings (1970s-2000s)

NEW YORK – Nahmad Contemporary is pleased to announce Antoni Tàpies: Paintings (1970s-2000s), on view from March 20 – April 22, 2017. Presenting key works taken from Tàpies’ later career, this exhibition is an extensive meditation on the postwar master, illuminating the many connections between his influential body of work and contemporary art history.


Born in 1923 in Barcelona, Tàpies was a painter, sculptor, and art critic whose work and theories were central to the Arte Povera movement. He was a close friend of Joan Miró, and co-founded the Dau al Set group in 1948 with surrealist poet Joan Brossa. The dense surfaces of his two-dimensional work are both metaphysical propositions regarding the “matter” of existence, and wide-ranging explorations of unorthodox materiality and markmaking. His embrace of art informel found echo in American Abstract Expressionism, which he encountered in 1953 when he had his first solo exhibition in New York.


The earliest works on display introduce a keen primitivism. Utilizing cardboard, tapestry, and bits of wood on canvas, Tàpies formed a rough, durable ground on which he developed a language of raw monasticism. Though the works eschew the refinements of Minimalism or hard-edged abstraction, they are rooted in simple geometry. These forms are interrupted by marks that simultaneously feel meditative and informal. Surrealist techniques such as grattage combine with scrawled-into impasto to form dense, multi-layered compositions in conversation with forebears such as Paul Klee and Pablo Picasso, as well as contemporaries Alberto Burri, Jean Dubuffet, and Lucio Fontana.


What defines Tàpies is his bipartite exploration of the modern condition. On one hand, his work contains religious symbols (informed by his Catholic upbringing) and is concerned with philosophical questions, but his use of low materials such as cardboard and cement belies an interest in expanding the limits of art. The latter is a lasting contribution to contemporary art history. In his works, we see premonitions of the Neo-expressionism of Jean Michel Basquiat and Julian Schnabel, and scores of contemporary artists who elevate the naïve and provisional.


Antoni Tàpies (1923-2012) was one of the most influential European artists of his generation. He has been the subject of numerous retrospective exhibitions, including ones at the Solomon R Guggenheim Museum, New York (1962); the Institute of Contemporary Art, London (1965); the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris (1973); the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo (1977); the Jeu de Paume, Paris (1994); and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (2014). Established in 1984, the Fundació Antoni Tàpies promotes the study and knowledge of contemporary art, paying special attention to art’s role in forming the conscience of modern man.

Start Date

March 20, 2017

End Date

April 22, 2017


10:00 AM - 06:00 PM


980 Madison Avenue, Third Floor New York, NY 10075

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