Antoni Tàpies, a largely self-taught Spanish abstract painter whose seductive, tactile surfaces, often scratched with mysterious graffiti-like marks, made use of unconventional materials like marble dust, ground chalk, sand and earth, died on Monday in Barcelona. He was 88.
Douglas Baxter, president of the Pace Gallery in New York and a friend of the artist’s, announced the death in a statement.
Mr. Tàpies (pronounced TAH-pee-ess) came to prominence in the late 1940s with richly symbolic paintings strongly influenced by Surrealist painters like Miró and Klee, a style he abandoned by the mid-1950s as he turned to what became his signature work: the heavily built-up surfaces that were often scratched, pitted and gouged and incised with letters, numbers and signs.
Using a wide variety of materials, on canvases and boards that often suggested walls, doors, windows or gates, he grounded his work in the brute reality of the Spanish street and in the turbulent political dramas of his youth in Catalonia, including the Spanish Civil War and a Catalan nationalist movement.
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