Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Day Auction


Antoni Tàpies
1923 - 2012
signed on the reverse
marble dust, oil and mixed media on board
149.9 by 159 cm. 59 by 62 5/8 in.
Executed in 2002.
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Galerie Lelong, Paris
Acquired from the above by the present owner


Barcelona, Fundació Tàpies, Antoni Tàpies. Cap Braços Cames Cos, June - November 2012, p. 51, illustrated in colour


Anna Agustí, Tàpies: The Complete Works: Volum 8è. 1998-2004, Barcelona 2005, p. 288, no. 7573, illustrated

Catalogue Note

Antoni Tàpies’ Home (Man) is an exemplary late work from the renowned Catalan artist who, at the time of its execution, was nearing the end of his eighth decade. During his career Tàpies’ unique style became synonymous with Art Informel and Tachisme; his highly textured canvases radically mixing a wide variety of materials to create lyrical compositions. A pioneer of these avant-garde movements, Tàpies established himself as a preeminent figure within the Spanish art scene in the second half of the Twentieth and early Twenty-First Century, until his death in 2012. His artistic output employed the use of a wide variety of unconventional media, often using sand, cement, dust, resin, straw and other everyday materials to great effect. Tàpies’ repertoire is dense and rich, and he often experimented on his materials with incisions and scratches which provide the works with a raw immediacy and unparalleled depth. Traversing the boundaries of painting and sculpture, compositions such as Home become, as the artist himself declared, “a sort of magic object,” at once mysterious and metaphorical, symbolic and profound (Antoni Tàpies in conversation with Georges Begou, 1994, online).

Home is part of a series of figurative works that the artist created during his later years and which often focused on the human form. His’ fascination with the body can be traced back to the beginning of his career: bedridden for two years when he was just seventeen, the artist started painting as a means, perhaps, of distraction. Tàpies’ early output is highly autobiographical; images of the self populate his canvases. After the ’50s, however, the artist developed his pictorial language into one that incorporated unusual artistic materials, positioning himself amongst the most original voices of his generation. During the last decade of his career, Tàpies returned to some of his earlier motifs, this time, however, articulated in his very own idiom. In Home, the viewer is confronted by the image of a nude male body. In these later years, the artist expressed a greater focus on his own existential condition, both as a man and a painter. His deeply incised lines within the plaster and sand matrix serve him well as he explores the intricacies and intimacies of the human figure. His subtractive techniques of gouging and scraping his medium are used to create the most primal etchings of the human form - a navel, the lines of the hips, the phallus itself - while letting his abstracted shapes, ambiguous textual notations and textured earthy palette swirl around them. Through the use of writing, marks and gestural patterns, Tàpies transforms the nature of his canvas and background into a compelling contemplation on temporal existence.

Contemporary Art Day Auction