Antoni Tàpies was born in Barcelona in 1923. A child with fragile health, he had a keen interest in drawing and painting. He studied law and commerce at the University of Barcelona and took drawing lessons at the Valls Academy. It will be deeply marked by the atrocities of the civil war. His first collages, made with recycled materials, show a Dadaist influence, while his paintings are already characterized by the effects of materials.
In 1948, he founded the Dau al set movement (in Catalan: the seventh face of wheat), a movement formed to fight against the intellectual apathy of Spain at the time. He meets Miró whose influence takes him into a surreal period. He is interested in oriental philosophies and discovers informal art which will have a decisive influence on the evolution of his painting.
In 1950, his first solo exhibition took place at the Laietanes Gallery in Barcelona. The following year, in Paris, he met Braque, Picasso, discovered informal art with Dubuffet and Fautrier, as well as the writings of Michel Tapié.
In 1952, he participated in the Venice Biennale and the year after his works were presented at the Martha Jackson Gallery in New York. Several major exhibitions and distinctions salute his work.
From 1954, Tàpies researched materials by mixing earth, sand and latex with his paint. The paintings from this period show significant relief, a thick texture. We find this desire for relief in his engravings and aquatints. The painter also incorporates objects into his works. Subsequently will come more refined compositions.
At the beginning of the 1970s, Tàpies produced his first sculptures as well as assemblies. In 1973, a retrospective was organized at the Museum of Modern Art in the city of Paris and in 1988, a traveling retrospective in the United States. The artist created his first ceramics in 1981. The print has always held an important place in the work of Tàpies who created numerous etchings or aquatints, as well as lithographs. In 1984, the Antoni Tàpies Foundation was created in Barcelona. Antoni Tàpies is part of the very closed circle of artists of contemporary art to which Spain paid homage during their lifetime by the creation of museum or foundation (Dali, Miro, Tàpies).
Tàpies is not a subject painter, his paintings are only graffiti, imprints, traces, glyphs. As if they were metaphysical walls which he likes to say that they proceed, all together, from dust, ashes, from the earth, from the destruction of the cataclysm, from cosmic contemplation, from inner meditation.