Monday – Friday: 9am – 6pm
Saturday: 10am – 6pm
mixed media on paper
27,5 x 74,5 cm (10 7/8 x 29 3/8 in.)
signed and dedicated lower right: 'A Josep, record cordial'
A reddish-brown colour trace stretches energetically from one side of the painting to the other, captured by Antoni Tàpies in a spontaneously expressive gesture. While some of the colour disappears in the course of the brushstroke, it has an intense effect in other parts. Singular splashes set additional accents and underscore the immediate, lively impression of the composition. The reddish-brown colour, as it occurs repeatedly in Tàpies’s works alongside earth tones, which is also to be understood as a reference to his Catalan origins, contrasts with the predominant muted tones of the work.
The striking brushstroke serves as a link between the different compositional elements, overlaying and framing the centrally arranged rectangle and at the same time visually linking the two letters A and T. This combination of letters appears frequently in Tàpies's works: it not only represents the artist's initials and the first letter of his wife Teresa, but evokes various associations. As Tàpies sums up his approach: "I use the letters with very different meanings. A as a beginning, as a boundary, T as a stylisation of the Crucified and also as the initial of my name like an interaction of coordinates, etc." (Catoir 1997, p. 91)
Letters, such as M, R, S, V, or X, had been recurring elements in Tàpies's work since the early 1950s. The artist was inspired by the writings of Catalan philosopher, logician and mystic Ramon Llull, for example, whose medieval doctrine of the Ars magna introduced a system of thought based on letter combinatorics. Tàpies included a variety of influences in his work, which is often permeated by signs, numbers and symbols: In addition to Far Eastern philosophies, the artist was concerned with Chinese and Japanese brush and ink drawings, among other things. Under this impression, he may have created a light and lively paper work like this one, which represents a powerful counterpart to the dense and heavy (material) paintings for which Tàpies became known.
"Cartes per la Teresa II", 1974
"Relleu en X", 1979-1980
"Ohne Titel", c. 1970
"Black with Four Cuttings", 1961
"Color de carne", 1981
"Marró sobre negre amb collage" ("Brown on Black with Collage"), 1972
"Two Lateral Forms on Brown", 1961
"Untitled", c. 1970
"White Writings", 1977
"Materia sobre tela", 1961
"Untitled", c. 1970