Cracks and scratches, signs and symbols, numbers and puzzles... all are unmistakable elements of the works of Antoni Tapies, the great Catalan painter and sculptor who died this week at his home in Barcelona, aged 88. Not simply an artist, Tapies was an intellectual of the first order and was awarded the title of marquis in 2010. Here we follow the trail of his artistic legacy to take a look at some of the places where his works are on display:
Tapies Foundation (Barcelona)
As a farewell tribute to the great artist, the Tapies Foundation have arranged a special display of his work Terros – a self-portrait with skull – along with the guest book in which thousands of fans have left condolences and comments. This study and conservation centre is clearly the right place to discover more about the artist and his work, as it boasts the most complete collection, including over 300 works drawn from all his artistic periods. The iconic sculpture Nuvol i cadira – Cloud and chair – welcomes visitors to the modernist building in which the Foundation is located, while out on the terrace sits Calcetin – The sock, one of his most controversial works.
The Museum of Contemporary Art in Barcelona houses over 50,000 works ranging from the Fifties to the present day, among which are around 50 works by Tapies. There are paintings, collages, drawings and even a three-dimensional installation, Rinzen, the first version of which won the Golden Lion award at the 45th Venice Biennale.
The Valencian Institute of Modern Art have been quick to react to the news of the artist's death and have announced a tribute exhibition of his work to open on February 20th. On display will be some of the most important of the 76 works in the Institute's collection.
Reina Sofia Museum (Madrid)
The death of Tapies provides an additional reason to visit the Reina Sofia in the Spanish capital. Named for the current queen of Spain, the museum is located in an eighteenth-century hospital which has undergone major reformation and refurbishment, including the controversial addition of vast glass towers to the facade in the late Eighties and an extensive expansion project opened in 2005. The permanent collection includes eight paintings and graphic works created by the Tapies between 1947 and 2000, the most recent, Perfil amb sanguina (Profile with blood).
Museum of Abstract Art (Cuenca)
Perched on the edge of a cliff in the casas colgadas – the iconic 'hanging houses' of Cuenca, the Museum of Abstract Art is worth a visit just to admire the late-fifteenth century architecture and see the views from the windows. The permanent collection includes eight works by Tapies, among them Grande Equerre from 1962, described by the museum cataloguer Juan Manuel Bonet, as "the most radical" of all the artist's pictures. The painting Blau i taronja – Blue and orange – dating from 1975, was a break from the established serious grey image of Tapies. The Museum also has the older work Marron y ocre – Brown and ochre – dating from 1959. Also in Cuenca, the Fundacion Antonio Perez and the San Clemente Graphic Art Museum have more of the artist's works on display.
The Catalan artist's death coincides with the exhibition Dual-es,Tapies frente a Tapies which opened ten days ago at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Alicante (MACA) and is on display until until 15 April when it will transfer to the Tomas & Valiente Art Centre, Fuenlabrada on the outskirts of Madrid. This selection of 17 works has been chosen to place 'Tapies opposite Tapies' and sets up parallels between some of the artist's creations separated in time but with a connecting thread.
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