Details & Cataloguing

Contemporary Art Day Auction


Antoni Tàpies
1923 - 2012
oil, crayon, foil and basket weave collaged on board
84 by 93.5 cm. 33 by 36 3/4 in.
Executed in 1970.
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This work is registered in the Fundació Antoni Tàpies under number T-9928 and is accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.


Private Collection, Barcelona (acquired directly from the artist)
Private Collection, Madrid (acquired from the above in the 1970s)
Acquired from the above by the present owner

Catalogue Note

“With my work I attempt to help man to overcome his alienation; I do this by surrounding his daily life with objects, which confront him in a tactile way with the final and deepest problems of our existence. I want the means that I employ to create the necessary stimulus to be as direct as possible. Instead of giving a sermon on humility, I often prefer to depict humility itself.” (Antoni Tàpies cited in: Press Release, Siegen, Museum für Gegenwartskunst Siegen, Antoni Tàpies: Image Body Pathos, 2011, online).

Executed in 1970, Sin Título perfectly encapsulates Antoni Tàpies' skillful mastery in celebrating an inherent truth in materials and their ability to reproduce and therefore capture reality. Tàpies' inimitable dexterity in the use of mixed media exquisitely synthesises the tactility of the artist’s environment forming captivating compositions, which are at once both entirely harmonious and somewhat ambiguous. The artist unleashed the potential of materiality as a viable means of artistic gesture, perhaps nowhere more evidently than in the mirrored arc of the large swath of woven material and short curves of deep, dark, gestural marks at the centre of the present work. Rendered in Tàpies’ idiosyncratic loose, gestural touch and virtuoso employment of materials Sin Título bears all the hallmarks of the artist’s highly informed, deeply personal and otherworldly pictorial language. With torn fabric, collaged caning, and the Tapies’ iconic crosses Sin Título exhibits his inimitable aesthetic of destruction and mystery poised in harmonious composition. The result exudes a meditative atmosphere bathing the viewer in an intense sense of tranquillity.

A vast and diverse array of vital influences jostle for the viewer’s attention in Sin Título: from the influence of Eastern philosophy that resonated from the artist’s earliest works, to a profound admiration of the masters of the European Avant Garde such as Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró, to the artist’s own personal experiences of the upheaval of Spanish politics and civilian life under General Franco’s rule. Executed just two years after the artist’s arrest at a demonstration in Barcelona, Sin Título is intimately tied to Tàpies’ personal reckoning of his artistic, political and cultural environment as he entered his third decade of artistic practice. Tàpies career continued for many more decades, his innovative use of materials and spontaneity of gesture firmly established him as the father of informalism and one of most preeminent artists of his generation.

Contemporary Art Day Auction