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Antoni Tapies Color Aquatint, "Crane" 1984

Antoni Tapies (Spanish, 1923-2012), "Crane" or "Cranio", ca. 1984. An aquatint and etching in colors on wove paper, signed in pencil and numbered 33/50 by Antoni Tapies below the plate mark. Tapies was a Spanish/Catalan artist who was among the most famous European artists of his generation. Born in Barcelona in 1923, Tapies studied law while simultaneously pursuing art. The Surrealist Joan Miro, a friend and fellow Catalan, greatly influenced Tapies' early work. Paul Klee was another primary influence, as Tapies began to include scrawled markings in his compositions and joined the Art Informel movement. His work grew more and more abstract, harkening the Arte Povera movement. Size: image measures 11.75" L x 15.375" W (29.8 cm x 39.1 cm); sheet measures 20" L x 25.75" W (50.8 cm x 65.4 cm); 23.75" L x 29.375" W (60.3 cm x 74.6 cm) framed.

During the Spanish Civil War and the terror of Francisco Franco, Tapies whose father was a Catalan nationalist remained in Spain and opposed the war. Tapies was exposed to this heated political environment. His father briefly served the Republican government and his grandmother was very involved in political activities. Since this experience of wartime and the postwar climate greatly affected him, social themes informed his work, and he invited the viewer to engage with his art to decipher its meaning. He famously stated, "If one draws things in a manner which provides only the barest clue to their meaning, the viewer is forced to fill in the gaps by using his own imagination. He is compelled to participate in the creative act, which I consider very important."

Tapies retrospectives have been presented at the Musee National d’art Moderne, Paris (1973) and Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York (1977). In 1978, his autobiography entitled, "Memoria Personal" (Personal Memory), was published. During the 1980s, Tapies explored more mediums, creating ceramic sculptures and even designing sets for Jacques Dupin’s play "L'Eboulement" (The Landslide). In 1990, the Fundacio Antoni Tapies opened in Barcelona, established in Tapies’s name to study and exhibit modern and contemporary art, periodically preparing Tapies-centric exhibitions and publications. Tapies was honored to represent Spain at the Venice Biennale in 1993, where he was awarded the Golden Lion for his installation. Three more retrospectives were presented at the Jeu de Paume, Paris (1994); the Guggenheim Museum SoHo, New York (1995); and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid (2000) - and a major international retrospective organized by the Museu d’art contemporani de Barcelona, traveled to the Patio Herreriano; the Museo de Art Contemporaneo Espanol, Valladolid, Spain; the Museo de arte de Zapopan, Jalisco, Mexico; Hara Museum of Contemporary Art, Tokyo; and Singapore Art Museum from 2004 to 2005.

Condition: Mark to right of center along lower edge of paper that may be integral to work. Vertical mark left side about 1/3 up that may also be integral to the piece. Otherwise, the artwork appears to be in overall good condition, but has not been examined outside the frame. The piece has lifted away from hinge on bottom left. Minor wear and scratching to the frame. Framing tape coming off back.

Provenance: ex Allen Davis collection, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA

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