Overview

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Antoni Tàpies (b. 1923)
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Antoni Tàpies (b. 1923)

Ocre i negre amb tela encolada (Ochre and Black with Pasted on Cloth)

Details
Antoni Tàpies (b. 1923)
Ocre i negre amb tela encolada (Ochre and Black with Pasted on Cloth)
signed 'tàpies-' (on the reverse)
oil, sand, gessoed cloth on panel
67 x 77in. (169.8 x 195.5cm.)
Executed in 1972
Provenance
Galerie Maeght, Paris.
Galerie Beyeler, Basel.
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1976.
Literature
P. Gimferrer, Tàpies i l'esperit català, Paris 1976, no. 327 (illustrated, pp. 302-303).
E. Lucie-Smith, S. Hunter, M. Vogt, Supplement II, Kunst der Gegenwart, Frankfurt 1978, no. 55 (illustrated in colour).
A. Franzke and M. Schwarz, Antoni Tàpies Werk und Zeit, Stuttgart 1979, no. 170 (illustrated, p. 157).
R. Penrose, Tàpies, New York 1978, no. 124 (illustrated, p. 171). A. Agustí, Tàpies, The Complete Works: 1969-1975, vol. III, Barcelona 1992, no. 2460 (illustrated in colour, p. 257).
Exhibited
Paris, Musée d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Antoni Tàpies Exposition Rétrospective 1946/1973, 1973-74, no. 77 (illustrated, p. 61). This exhibition later travelled to Geneva, Musée d'Art et d'Histoire Musée Rath; Charleroi, Palais des Beaux Arts and Humlebaek, Louisiana Museum.
Basel, Galerie Beyeler, 1975, no. 29.
Basel, Galerie Beyeler, Autres Dimensions, 1976, no. 94.
Amsterdam, Stedelijk Museum, no. 42, 1980 (illustrated, p. 44).
Frankfurt am Main, Schirn Kunsthalle, Antoni Tàpies Eine Retrospective, 1993.
Special Notice

Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent.

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Lot Essay

'The central area of...(Ocre i negre amb tela encolada)...is occupied by a white sheet in the shape of a pouch hung by its four corners. Above a sinister black cross seems to drop from a dark cloud and is repeated more faintly below, while a flight of arrowheads encircles the sheet and descends into its folds soiling its inner surface and giving unexpectedly a third dimension to the linen, which appears to open ready to receive a shower of rain or a flight of birds from heaven.' (R. Penrose, Tàpies, London 1978, pp. 153 -154).

A dramatic and in parts even frenetic fusion of form, material and texture with calligraphic painterly and physical gesture, Ocre i negre amb tela encolada is a large and important work executed in 1972. It belongs to a group of highly expressive works made by Tàpies in the early 1970s that make specific use of a variety of suspended sheets and twisted or stretched fabrics to introduce a powerful sense of gravity, form and space into his strongly textual and highly material art. As the artist's friend the Surrealist painter and critic Roland Penrose observed of this work, it appears in some respects to be a development from another highly material work, Gran drap nuat amb deixalles of 1971 and its 'parable of material in a state propitious to rebirth.' (ibid, p. 154)

With its hammock-like suspended sheet seemingly hanging in the magically interactive space of Tàpies' creative interaction with his materials, Ocre i negre amb tela encolada seems to offer a more optimistic image of the mystical interaction between spirit and material than in this earlier work. Here the myriad of symbols, forms, marks and gestures scored into the sandy surface of the work or painted over it by Tàpies intuitive and gestural responses to it seems to be being gathered or even harvested by this almost saintly or religious-looking white sheet. Echoing in its starkly contrasting colours of earth and sand, black and white, the sober colouring, and intensely mystical and meditative mood of 17th Century Spanish religious art, this painting is therefore expressive of Tàpies's own continuing mystical awareness of the world in an age of existentialism and quantum mechanics.

Such 'mystical consciousness' Tàpies has said, though 'almost undefinable', is 'fundamental for an artist. It is like a "suffering" of reality, a state of constant hypersensitivity to everything that surrounds us, good and bad, light and darkness. It is like a voyage to the center of the universe which furnishes the perspective necessary for placing all things of life in their real dimension...I have never believed in the intrinsic value of art. In itself it seems to me to be nothing. What is important is its role as a spur, a springboard, which helps us attain knowledge...The work of art is a simple support of meditation, an artifice serving to fix the attention, to stabilize or excite the mind; its value can only be judged by its results.' (A. Tàpies, 'I am a Catalan', 1971, in K. Stiles and P. Selz, Theories and Documents of Contemporary Art, Berkeley 1996, p. 55.)

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