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Antoni Tàpies

Blanco y Grafismos (White with Graphism)


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Catalan painter Antoni Tàpies was an active proponent of the postwar European movement known as tachisme, or art informel. Parting with design principles that emphasized geometric order and rational forms, tachisme instead favored not only a more expressive, lyrical style of abstract painting, but also the use of nontraditional, often organic materials such as gravel and wood. In Blanco y Grafismos, Tàpies created a richly textured surface using sand mixed with oil paint, one of the so-called matter paintings he began producing in the mid-1950s. While abstract, this particular composition harbors visual references to concrete structures like walls and doorframes. Especially compelling is how Tàpies’s use of materials conjures powerful associations through textures, not just through the shape of things: the rough surface of the canvas itself resembles a wall marred over time by nicks and scratches. By inscribing the canvas with these markings, Tàpies alludes, overtly or obliquely, to the anti-fascist graffiti he surely knew from the sides of buildings in Barcelona during the Franco regime (1939–75); at the same time, the marks convey the impression of an almost cave-like interior, evoking art’s primordial origins in the human need for self-expression.

  • Artist Antoni Tàpies (Spanish, 1923–2012)
  • Title Blanco y Grafismos (White with Graphism)
  • Date 1957
  • Medium Mixed media on canvas
  • Dimensions unframed | 79 x 69 in.
  • Credit line Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard K. Weil, 1963
  • Object number WU 4067
  • Currently on View James M. Kemper Gallery, Room 1

From Picasso to Fontana: Collecting Modern and Postwar Art in the Eisendrath Years, 1960–1968
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 01/23/2015 - 04/19/2015

Gesture, Scrape, Combine, Calculate: Postwar Abstraction from the Permanent Collection
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 08/20/2010 - 09/20/2010

International Abstraction: Art of the 1950s from the Washington University Collections
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 01/22/1999 - 03/28/1999

Modernism at Midstream: From Europe to America and Back Again
Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Washington University in St. Louis, 09/04/1983 - 11/06/1983

Washington University Collection of Modern Paintings and Sculpture from Daumier to Pollock
Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 04/06/1966 - 05/08/1966

Mr. and Mrs. Richard K. Weil, St. Louis

Inscription [verso UL corner of backing, rectangular orange label] [printed in black:] 32 e 69 st - new york 21 / MARTHA JACKSON GALLERY / No 3528 / ARTIST [typewritten in black:] TAPIES, ANTONIO / [printed:] TITLE [typewritten:] WHITE WITH GRAPHISMS / [printed:] MEDIUM [large space] SIZE [typewritten:] 79 x 69 / [printed:] DATE [typewritten:] 1957 [printed:] PRICE / SOLD TO

Inscription [verso UC on back of canvas, written in black paint:] U. S. A.

Inscription [verso UL on back of canvas, written in script with black ink:] tàpies _1957

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