Sabtu, 05 Mei 2012

Art Knowledge News - Keeping You in Touch with the World of Art...

Art Knowledge News - Keeping You in Touch with the World of Art...

At Fondation Beyeler in Basel First Exhibition in Switzerland devoted to Surrealism

Posted: 04 May 2012 10:26 PM PDT

artwork: Salvador Dalķ - "The Enigma of Desire", 1929 - Oil on canvas. 110 x 150.7 cm. - Bayerische Staatsgemaldesammlungen, Munich, Germany

BASEL.- The Fondation Beyeler is devoting the first-ever comprehensive exhibition in Switzerland to Surrealism in Paris. On view will be major works by artists such as Salvador Dalí, Joan Miró, Max Ernst , and many more who either belonged to the movement or were associated with it. The show will focus on the innovative forms of expression developed and employed by the Surrealists – especially object art, collage, photography and film. Surrealism was one of the most crucial artistic and literary movements of the twentieth century. After emerging in Paris in 1924, it unfolded a worldwide effect that continues to this day. Major modern artists belonged to the movement, were associated with it, or inspired by it. Its aim was radical change and expansion of the expressive means of art and poetry and their impact on society. Aspects of the psyche and creativity that had previously lay fallow were to be made fertile for artistic activity and human life as a whole. On view through 29 January, 2012.

artwork: Max Ernst - "The Antipope", December 1941–March 1942. Oil on canvas, 63 1/4 x 50 in. Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation,Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice © 2009 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, ParisProfoundly shaken by the experience of the First World War and under the leadership of its chief theoretician, André Breton , the Surrealists developed innovative approaches and lent form to an art that tapped poetic imagination, the world of dreams, and the unconscious mind. Their idols included Sigmund Freud and many writers, such as the scandalous Marquis de Sade, the poets Charles Baudelaire, Comte de Lautréamont, and Arthur Rimbaud, Edgar Allan Poe, and the German Romantics.

"Dalí, Magritte, Miró – Surrealism in Paris" comprises about 290 masterworks and manuscripts by about 40 artists and authors. These include approximately 110 paintings, 30 objects and sculptures, 50 works on paper, 50 photographs, 30 manuscripts and original editions, 15 pieces of jewelry and four films. The exhibits are arranged in the exhibition spaces partly by artist, partly by theme. The introduction is provided by Giorgio de Chirico , a pioneering predecessor of Surrealism whose cityscapes and interiors of the 1910's can be considered decisive forerunners of the movement. On view as well are valuable manuscripts and editions of Surrealist texts, including manuscript versions of Breton's manifestos.

A further emphasis is placed on two major artists of the movement, Joan Miró and Max Ernst. Miró, who opened out entirely new spaces for modern art with his hovering dreamlike colored configurations, is represented by works such as Painting (The Circus Horse), 1927, from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and Ernst by superb works such as the renowned Wavering Woman (The Slanting Woman), 1923, from the Kunstsammlung NordrheinWestfalen, Düsseldorf. Then follows a room devoted to Yves Tanguy, whose imaginary spaces populated by mysterious objects – as in the monumental The Last Days, 1944, from a private collection – represent one of the most poetic evocations in all Surrealism. The next space is devoted to a key Surrealist medium – the object. The works on view include Meret Oppenheim's famous Ma gouvernante - My Nurse - Mein Kindermädchen, 1936/1967, from the Moderna Museet Stockholm, and Hans Bellmer's major object The Doll, 1935-36, from the Centre Georges Pompidou , Paris. Also brought together here are major drawings and paintings by Victor Brauner.

artwork: Meret Oppenheim's famous "Ma gouvernante - My Nurse - Mein Kindermädchen", 1936/1937, Oil on canvas from the Moderna Museet Stockholm.

A special feature of the exhibition is the inclusion of two superb private collections of Surrealism. The presentation of that of André Breton and his first wife, Simone Collinet, represents a premiere. The couple amassed the collection in the 1920s, and after they separated Collinet expanded her share. Among the works in the collection are Francis Picabia's large-scale painting Judith, 1929, and de Chirico's The Evil Genius of a King, 1914-15, now in the Museum of Modern Art, New York. On view in a second room are outstanding works from the Peggy Guggenheim Collection , including Max Ernst's The Antipope, 1941-42, which the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice seldom permits to travel. These works constitute an ensemble within the exhibition in which the period of the Surrealists' New York exile during World War II is virtually distilled. In addition, the presentation of the two collections permits us to highlight key aspects of private stagings of Surrealist art.

The artists prominently represented in further rooms include Hans Arp, and not least Pablo Picasso , who for a time was closely associated with Surrealism. On view is his highly Surrealist painting The Artist's Studio (The Open Window), 1929. This is followed by an outstanding group of works by the visual magician René Magritte . In an inimitable way, Magritte's art captures visual reality only to subvert it again. Fine examples are the early The Interpretation of Dreams, 1930, and later major works such as The Dominion of Light, 1962, both from private collections.

A concise selection of outstanding Surrealist photographs, including works by Man Ray , Raoul Ubac, Dora Maar, and Eli Lotar rounds off the picture. A screening room presents key works of Surrealist cinematic art, including ones by Luis Buñuel and Man Ray

The exhibition concludes with the artist who is likely the most famous Surrealist of all, Salvador Dalí. A spectacular group of his masterpieces on view here includes The Enigma of Desire, 1929, from the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich, the outstanding Metamorphosis of Narcissus, 1937, from the Tate London, and Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate, one Second before Awakening, 1944, from the Museo Thyssen Bornemisza in Madrid.

artwork: Salvador Dalķ - "Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee around a Pomegranate, one second before awakening", 1944, - Oil on wood, 51 x 41 cm. -  Museo Thyssen Bornemisza in Madrid.

The exhibition links up with previous Galerie Beyeler and Fondation Beyeler projects. Ernst Beyeler early on devoted various exhibitions to Surrealism in his Basel gallery, including the 1947 "Surréalisme et peinture" and the 1995-96 "Surrealismus: Traum des Jahrhunderts," as well as to individual representatives of the movement, bringing his unique eye for this art into play. Accordingly, the Beyeler Collection now boasts key works by such artists as Arp, Ernst, Miró and Picasso. The Fondation Beyeler can likewise look back on shows of Surrealist art, including "Calder, Miró", 2004, "Picasso surreal," 2005, "René Magritte: The Key to Dreams", 2005, and, with some Surrealist works, " Giacometti ", 2009. These were supplemented by thematic exhibitions in which Surrealist art prominently figured. The current extensive Surrealism exhibition provides a panoramic view of the movement as a whole.

The exhibition is curated by Philippe Büttner, Fondation Beyeler Curator

Ernst Beyeler collected during his 50-year-old art gallery work always. In the 1980s he began to start thinking about the future of the paintings and sculptures. Lying close to the handover to the Basel Art Museum would have been. But as suggested, the government of the canton of Basel-Stadt, Ernst Beyeler proposals for a new home as a place for the collection, it quickly became clear that none of the rooms could do justice to the artwork. The foundation was established and the idea of ​​building a museum was born. Ernst Beyeler was excited to unite the groups of works of great artists of the past 100 years with the sculptures from Africa and Oceania at any suitable place in one location, it was the first to create. Impressed by the work of Renzo Piano , who is responsible for the construction of the Centre Pompidou in Paris and for the Menil Collection in Houston, was commissioned by Italian star architect without competition to build the museum. Visit :

Extraordinary Works by Austrian Artist Egon Schiele at Richard Nagy Ltd.

Posted: 04 May 2012 10:25 PM PDT

artwork: Egon Schiele - Wally Neuzil in Black Stockings, 1912 - Courtesy of Richard Nagy Gallery, London

More than forty-five extraordinary works by Austrian artist Egon Schiele, previously unseen in the UK, will be unveiled at Richard Nagy's new gallery on Old Bond Street from 19 May – 30 June 2011. Much of the four thousand works Schiele produced during his short lifetime can only be seen in Vienna; at the Belvedere, the Albertina and the Leopold Museum, or New York, primarily at the Neue Galerie. While Schiele is recognised as one of the greatest draftsmen of the 20th Century, with watercolours making over $11 million at auction, his work is absent from museum collections in the United Kingdom and has been given little public attention in the past twenty years.

National Gallery of Australia exhibits 'Australian Surrealism'

Posted: 04 May 2012 10:20 PM PDT

artwork: James Gleeson - The attitude of lightning towards a lady-mountain, 1939 - Oil on canvas - 79.0 x 63.3 cm, Purchased with the assistance of James Agapitos OAM and Ray Wilson OAM 2007  

CANBERRA, AU - The story of Surrealism in Australia has until recently remained largely unknown. It was only in 1993 with the National Gallery of Australia's exhibition Surrealism: revolution by night that the extent of Surrealist practice in this country was revealed. That seminal exhibition led the Sydney collectors James Agapitos, OAM, and Ray Wilson, OAM, to focus their energies towards collecting Australian Surrealist art. Assembled with intellect and passion, their collection became the largest and most important repository of Australian Surrealist art in private hands.

Studies on Guggenheim Museum Bilbao Expansion in Urdaibai Presented

Posted: 04 May 2012 10:18 PM PDT

artwork: "Guggenheim Museum Bilbao, Spain" - Photo: David M. Heald. © SRGF, New York

NEW YORK, NY.- The results of preliminary studies analyzing the critical factors for success for the proposed Guggenheim Museum Bilbao expansion project in Urdaibai were presented December 16 at a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation. The first stage of feasibility studies, carried out in 2009, identified and analyzed a number of issues, including the new museum's conceptual model and curatorial program; the legal, urban, environmental, and geological conditions of the chosen site; the museum's spatial needs; potential visitor attendance; and the economic impact of the museum both during the construction period and its ongoing operation.

Legendary Painter Grace Hartigan Bequeaths More Than $1 Million to Maryland Institutions

Posted: 04 May 2012 10:17 PM PDT

artwork: Grace Hartigan - Night in Tunisia, oil on linen, 2000, 60

BALTIMORE, MD.- The late Grace Hartigan, a celebrated Abstract Expressionist painter who served as director of MICA's Hoffberger School of Painting since its inception in 1965, has left more than $1 million in paintings combined to the College and Maryland Art Place (MAP), according to both institutions' Boards of Trustees. Hartigan, who died on Nov. 15, 2008 at the age of 86, had deep connections to MICA and MAP for many years, said MICA faculty Rex Stevens, Hartigan's former student, longtime friend, studio assistant and personal representative. Hartigan's gift will provide funds for Maryland Art Place's future projects, said Cathy Byrd, executive director of MAP.

Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt to showcase "René Magritte 1948 ~ La Période Vache"

Posted: 04 May 2012 10:15 PM PDT

artwork: René Magritte - L'Ellipse (Die Ellipse), 1948 - Oil on canvas, 50.3 x 73 cm. - Royal Museum of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels © Charly Herscovici, London 2008 / c/o ADAGP, Paris

Frankfurt, Germany - René Magritte numbers not only among the most important, but also among the most popular artists of the twentieth century. Often against the grain of the tendencies in the arts of his time, the Belgian Surrealist painter developed a unique and unmistakable pictorial language. His work's continuing crucial influence on later generations of artists and his impact on today's visual culture are almost without par. Many of his equally enigmatic and hard-to-forget solutions have been reproduced in the millions and become famous icons far beyond the world of art. On exhibition 30 October 2008 – 4 January 2009.

artwork:  René Magritte Le Galet   (The Pebble), 1948 Oil on canvas - 100 x 81 cm. Royal Museum of Fine   Arts of Belgium, Brussels © Charly Herscovici, London 2008 / c/o ADAGP,   ParisHowever, a fascinating period of the artist's landmark oeuvre has remained nearly unknown: his so-called période vache. In 1948, Magritte made a group of paintings and gouaches distinctly different from the rest of his work for his first solo exhibition in Paris. Relying on a new, fast and aggressive style of painting – and particularly inspired by popular sources such as caricatures and comics, but also interspersing his works with stylistic quotations from artists like James Ensor or Henri Matisse – Magritte, within only a few weeks, produced about thirty entirely uncharacteristic works that caused an outrage in Paris.

The artist deliberately conceived the exhibition as a provocation of and an assault on the Parisian public. Painting in an unexpectedly crude, playful, and intentionally "bad" manner, he reflected his own work and painting in general. Magritte thus anticipated strategies of painting current in the 1970s and 1980s, which are highly topical again today.

While only sporadically included in most retrospectives of Magritte's oeuvre, the works from the période vache  will be assembled in the exhibition at the Schirn outside France and Belgium for the first time. Especially against the background of the last thirty years' art, this concentrated presentation will shed a new, surprising light on an extraordinary artist.

artwork: René   Magritte Le Psychologue (The Psychologist), 1948 Oil on canvas - 65 x 54   cm. Collection Deknop © Charly Herscovici, London 2008 / c/o ADAGP,   ParisWith "René Magritte 1948. La Période Vache," the Schirn continues a series of exhibitions that started with "Henri Matisse. Drawing with Scissors" and "Paul Klee. 1933" and was followed by "Max Beckmann. The Watercolors and Pastels" or "Picasso and the Theater," focusing on specific groups of works or certain aspects in the oeuvre of established masters of classical modernism.

A catalogue accompanying the exhibition will be published by Ludion.

The SCHIRN KUNSTHALLE FRANKFURT is one of Europe's most renowned exhibition institutions. Since 1986, more than 180 exhibitions have been realized, among them major surveys dedicated to Vienna Art Nouveau, Expressionism, Dada and Surrealism, to "Women Impressionists" and the history of photography, to subjects like shopping and the relationship between art and consumerism, the visual art of the Stalin era, the Nazarenes, or the new Romanticism in present-day art. Artists such as Wassily Kandinsky, Marc Chagall, Alberto Giacometti, Frida Kahlo, Bill Viola, Arnold Schönberg, Henri Matisse, Julian Schnabel, James Lee Byars, Yves Klein, and Carsten Nicolai were presented in comprehensive solo shows. The SCHIRN, with Max Hollein as director, presents explosive issues and topical aspects of artistic oeuvres in a concise language under contemporary aspects. Being a venue of discoveries, the SCHIRN offers both sides to its visitors: an original sensuous experience and committed involvement in cultural discussion.

VENUE: SCHIRN KUNSTHALLE FRANKFURT, Römerberg, D-60311 Frankfurt.  Visit :

Israel Museum Commissions New Works by Olafur Eliasson and Anish Kapoor

Posted: 04 May 2012 10:14 PM PDT

artwork: Installation rendering of "Whenever the Rainbow Appears", a new site-specific work by Olafur Eliasson, at the end of the "Route of Passage" leading to the Israel Museum's new Gallery Entrance Pavilion. Image: Courtesy James Carpenter Design Associates.

JERUSALEM.- Olafur Eliasson and Anish Kapoor have been commissioned by the Israel Museum to create two new monumental installations on the Museum's campus, as it nears completion of a comprehensive renewal and expansion, together with a complete reinstallation of all of its collection galleries. These site-specific works will be installed as focal points within the Museum's newly re-organized campus, opening to the public on July 26, 2010.

Polk Museum of Art Acquires Two Chihulys and a Ginny Ruffner

Posted: 04 May 2012 10:13 PM PDT

artwork: Dale Chihuly - Olive and Blue Green Persian Set, 2000, Blown glass, 161/2 x 21 x 20 inches Purchase with funds from Mrs. Cornelia Waters, Andy and Rosa Hernandez, Homer Hooks and Lois Cowles Harrison, the Art Resource Trust - Photo Courtesy of Millenia Fine Art, Orlando

LAKELAND , FL - Polk Museum of Art has acquired two new artworks by internationally noted master glassmaker Dale Chihuly. The pieces were purchased for the Permanent Collection by the Museum's Art Resource Trust group and by individual donors. Along with the Chihulys, the Museum also purchased a piece by Seattle glass artist Ginny Ruffner, one of the most important female glass artists in the country. All three pieces are currently on display in the Museum's Hollis Gallery.

The Polk Museum of Art Presents Hunt Slonem's "An Expressive Nature"

Posted: 04 May 2012 10:08 PM PDT

Lakeland, Florida.- The Polk Museum of Art is proud to showcase paintings by New York and Louisiana-based artist Hunt Slonem in an exhibition titled "An Expressive Nature" on view at the museum from December 17th through March 24th 2012. The exhibition will be celebrated at a reception from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, January 13th at the Museum. Slonem will lecture about his work beginning at 6 p.m., and a reception featuring light hors d'oeuvres and a cash bar begins at 7 p.m. Contemporary works by Slonem are sought after by collectors from around the world. His vibrantly colored works can be found in nearly 100 international museum collections and countless other corporate and private collections. Slonem's expressive paintings pivot between the fantastic and the natural.

Sidney Nolan: A New Retrospective at Queensland Art Gallery

Posted: 04 May 2012 10:03 PM PDT

artwork: Sidney Nolan - POLICEMAN IN WOMBAT HOLE 1946 - Inscr. 'Nolan' Ripolin on board - 91.8 x 122.3 cm.

Brisbane, Australia - Sidney Nolan's first major retrospective since his death presents an opportunity to unravel something of the artist's enigma and understand his achievement throughout an entire career. He is best known for his various series, inspired by landscapes, myths or historical events. His output was prolific, ranging across various techniques and media. This retrospective features critical phases from the St Kilda and Wimmera themes through to the first 'Ned Kelly' series.  On view at the Queensland Art Gallery through 28 September, 2008.

La Lanta Fine Art opens Pop-Inspired Artists Brett Neal and Christian Develter

Posted: 04 May 2012 09:53 PM PDT

artwork: Brett Neal - "Pig Can't Fly in Plimsoles - Leger inspired" - Fiberglass and cold enamel - 40 x 31 x 28 cm. - Courtesy la Lanta Fine Arts, Bangkok. On view in "Pop Culture: Brett Neal & Christian Develter" from February 25th until April 6th.

Bangkok, Thailand.- La Lanta Fine Arts is pleased to present "Pop Culture: Brett Neal & Christian Develter", on view at the gallery from February 25th through April 6th. Both artists take the visual cues; either literally or conceptually from the post modern movement of the beginning of the 20th century. Two different forms of media are on view in "Pop Culture". Brett Neal juxtaposes familiar images by the great masters like Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Roy Lichtenstein on a series of whimsical animal sculptures. Christian Develter's artwork reminisces the famous body of work by Andy Warhol, with strong flat colors and the subject matters that pay tribute to the popular culture of the current time.

Palestinian-British Artist Mona Hatoum Announced Winner of the 2011 Joan Miró Prize

Posted: 04 May 2012 09:51 PM PDT

artwork: Lebanese artist Mona Hatoum created a glowing electrical globe, "Hot Spot", meant as a reference not just to global warming, but to the spread of conflict around the world.

The jury of the 2011 Joan Miró Prize has granted the award to the Palestinian-British artist residing in London and Berlin, Mona Hatoum, for her great skill in connecting personal experience with universal values. Hatoum's sculptures, installations, performances and videos set her among the most outstanding artists on the international art scene. The Joan Miró Prize is organised by Fundació Joan Miró of Barcelona in collaboration with Obra Social "la Caixa", which assumes as its own the agreement existing with Fundació Caixa Girona. It is worth €70,000, awarded biennially, and is one of the highest awards among current art prizes. Previously this prize has been awarded to Olafur Eliasson (2007) and Pipilotti Rist (2009) in recognition of their work.

Vancouver Art Gallery to Present Exhibition by Renowned Photographer Andreas Gursky

Posted: 04 May 2012 09:49 PM PDT

artwork: German photographer Andreas Gursky large scale photographs, that capture a scene with repeating patterns. The size by itself is impressive, but also the way his images come out set him apart. Courtesy Matthew Marks Gallery, NY

VANCOUVER, CANADA - Andreas Gursky's photographs are celebrated as some of the most compelling images of our modern world. The Vancouver Art Gallery will be the only North American museum to present Andreas Gursky: Werke/Works 80-08 the largest and most comprehensive exhibition to survey this renowned German artist's remarkable career. Selected by Gursky himself from his substantial collection of photographic work, this landmark exhibition of more than 130 artworks will be on view from May 30 to September 20, 2009.

World Renowned Spanish Abstract Artist Antoni Tàpies Dies at Age 88

Posted: 04 May 2012 09:47 PM PDT

artwork: Antoni Tàpies - "Ásia", 1951 - Oil on canvas - Collection of the Museu de Arte Moderna de São Paulo.

New York (New York times).- 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, a friend of the artist and president of the Pace Gallery, which has represented him since 1992, 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-1950's 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. "The dramatic sufferings of adults and all the cruel fantasies of those of my own age, who seemed abandoned to their own impulses in the midst of so many catastrophes, appeared to inscribe themselves on the walls around me," he told the French dealer and art critic Michel Tapié in 1969. "My first works of 1945 already had something of the graffiti of the streets and a whole world of protest — repressed, clandestine, but full of life — a life which was also found on the walls of my country."

artwork: Antoni Tàpies - "Self-Portrait", 1945 - Pencil on paper Courtesy of Fundación Antoni Tàpies.

The rich, painterly textures and sober use of color in his "matter paintings" lent a moving solemnity — the critic John Russell referred to their "seignorial dignity" — to works that "seemed to have been not so much painted as excavated from an idiosyncratic compound of mud, sand, earth, dried blood and powdered minerals." Mr. Tàpies chafed at being characterized as an abstract painter. At the same time, he refused to explicate the tantalizing scratches, letters and crosses that seemed to offer the viewer a text. His dreamlike symbols, fished from the soup of the unconscious, suggested an ancient language waiting to be deciphered, but Mr. Tàpies declined to assist. He did, however, place his work in the realm of the sacred, but a world far removed from his strict Catholic upbringing. "In our world, in which religious images are losing their meaning, in which our customs are getting more and more secular, we are losing our sense of the eternal," he said on the BBC arts program Omnibus in 1990. "I think it's a loss that has done a great deal of damage to modern art. Painting is a return to origins."

artwork: Antoni Tàpies - "Composition surrealiste au visage" Ink on Paper19 3/4" x 15 2/5" Courtesy Imaginart, Barcelona.Antoni Tàpies Puig was born in Barcelona on Dec. 13, 1923. His father was a lawyer and Catalan nationalist who served briefly with the Republican government. At 17, Mr. Tàpies suffered a near-fatal heart attack caused by tuberculosis. He spent two years as a convalescent in the mountains, reading widely and pursuing an interest in art that had already expressed itself when he was in his early teens. To please his father, he enrolled in the University of Barcelona to study law, but he continued to produce art and for two months studied drawing at the Valls Academy. With the Catalan poet and playwright Joan Brossa, he founded Dau al Set ("The Seven-Spotted Die"), a progressive arts magazine, and, at an exhibition of his work in Barcelona, befriended Miró, a decisive influence. In 1954 he married Teresa Barba Fàbregas. They had three children, Antoni, Miguel and Clara. His earliest works were collage-based abstract paintings on cardboard that anticipated the arte povera movement of the 1960s in their use of such humble materials as string and scraps of paper. After studying in Paris, where he met Picasso, a fellow Spaniard, Mr. Tàpies began exhibiting regularly and, after the Surrealist adventures of his "magic period," he set about transforming himself into a painter who, as the critic Roland Penrose put it in his monograph "Tàpies" (1978), "a painter who was to create mysteries in matter itself."

In 1953 he had his first shows in the United States, at the Marshall Field Art Gallery in Chicago and the Martha Jackson gallery in New York, where he first saw the work of the Abstract Expressionists. "They were wrestling with canvases, using violent colors and huge brush strokes," he recalled in an interview with The New York Times in 1995. "I arrived with gray, silent, sober, oppressed paintings. One critic said they were paintings that thought." In 1958 Mr. Tàpies represented Spain in the Venice Biennale with his compatriot Eduardo Chillida. Four years later, he was given a solo show at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The art critic Stuart Preston, reviewing the Guggenheim exhibition in The New York Times, wrote: "The word subtlety is crude when applied to the astonishing textural and coloristic variations that Tàpies, whose taste is unerring to the point of preciosity, manages to confect." (Mr. Tàpies's work had also been part of the Guggenheim's inaugural exhibition in 1959.) With the rise of Pop Art and Conceptualism, Mr. Tàpies's reputation declined in the United States, although many of his "object works" of the late 1960s and early '70s incorporate some elements of both movements, with a Surrealist spin. Works like "Mattress" (1971), an actual mattress painted with blood-like stains and ripped down the center to reveal horsehair stuffing, and "Desk and Straw" (1970), a rather worn wooden office desk piled high with heaps of straw, suggested the influence of Robert Rauschenberg.

In one of his more whimsical works, "Sock" (1971), he affixed a man's white sock to a canvas. This theme would return with a vengeance in 1992, when the new National Museum of Catalan Art commissioned a work of sculpture for its central hall. Mr. Tàpies created a furor when he submitted a model for a dirty sock that, when executed, would rise to a height of 40 feet. The sculpture was never made. In 1984 Mr. Tàpies created the Tàpies Foundation, dedicated to the study of modern art. In 1990 it opened a museum and library in the premises of a former publishing house in Barcelona. Its holdings include nearly 2,000 examples of his work. He was the subject of retrospective exhibitions at the Jeu de Paume in Paris in 1994 and at the Reina Sofía Museum in Madrid in 2000. Age did not diminish his output, although much of his work after 1980 returned to old themes and images. In January 2010 he exhibited his work at the Toni Tàpies Gallery in Barcelona, owned by his son Antoni, and in the following March his work of the past 20 years was the subject of an exhibition organized for the reopening of the Tàpies Foundation after an extensive renovation. "My illusion is to have something to transmit," he said when his museum opened in 1990. "If I can't change the world, at least I want to change the way people look at it."

This Week in Review in Art Knowledge News

Posted: 04 May 2012 09:46 PM PDT

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