Antoni Tàpies (1923-2012)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE EUROPEAN COLLECTION
Antoni Tàpies (1923-2012)

Paisatge (Landscape)

Antoni Tàpies (1923-2012)
Paisatge (Landscape)
signed, dated and inscribed '"PAISATGE" Tàpies - Paris 1950' (on the reverse)
oil on canvas
32 x 39 1/2 in. (81.2 x 100.3cm.)
Painted in 1950
Anderson Gallery, New York (no. A62.035A).
Anonymous sale, Christie's London, 10 December 1998, lot 528.
Private collection, USA, by whom acquired at the above sale; sale, Christie's, London, 3 February 2003, lot 177.
Acquired at the above sale by the present owner.
A. Agustí, Tàpies, The Complete Works, vol. I, 1943-1960, New York, 1989, no. 368 (illustrated p. 166; dated '1951').
Madrid, Instituto de Cultura Hispánica, Exposición Bienal Hispanoamericana de Arte, October 1951, no. 597 (illustrated).
Chicago, Marshall Field & Co., Tàpies, 1953 (illustrated).
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Anna Povejsilova
Anna Povejsilova

Lot Essay

Painted in 1950, this landscape belongs to an early series of paintings by Tàpies that have been categorised by the critic Alexandre Cirici as representing the artist’s ‘Magic Period’. Tàpies’ ‘Magic’ paintings were the first of the artist’s works to gain him international reputation as one of Spain’s most promising contemporary artists and lay much of the groundwork for the more textural and abstract work which he is now best known for.

In 1948, along with his friend, the poet and writer Joan Brossa, Tàpies came under the influence of the Surrealists and their evocation of the fantastic and magical imagery of dreams. Influenced directly by artists such as Paul Klee, Joan Miró and Max Ernst, Tàpies began to explore the painterly possibilities of expressing cosmic and dreamlike landscapes in a number of finely crafted and delicate paintings for which Brossa would often provide mysterious and poetic titles. These works achieved the widest acclaim in the United States where, amongst many others, they won Tàpies the lasting admiration of his fellow countryman Salvador Dalí.

Landscape is one of the more accomplished of Tàpies’ ‘Magic’ paintings blending together a wide range of motifs and mythical creatures into a delicate nocturnal scene. Scratched finely into the surface of the canvas, Tàpies depicts a textured desert landscape dominated by a huge moon and a skeletal illustration of a wall clock. The clock conveys a sense of the artificiality of counting time that is reinforced by the apparent simultaneity of the rest of the visual imagery that seemingly floats in shimmering colour on the surface of the picture.

The fine and delicate sense of surface in this work prefigures Tàpies’ later obsession with sand and the incising into the surface of a painting that entered his work two years later. In the present work, Tàpies has concentrated on the blending of the surface of the night sky with the horizon and the desert plateau into a uniform tapestry. Onto this delicate ground, Tàpies projects and incises a number of strange and exotic elements that dance on its surface like the negative shadows of a magic lantern show to convey a mystical image that speaks solely of the language of dreams.

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