Antoni Tàpies i Puig, 1st Marquess of Tàpies, was born in Barcelona on 13 December 1923. He was a Spanish painter, sculptor and art theorist, who became one of the most famous European artists of his generation, and one of Spain's most renowned artists in the second half of the 20th century.
His father was a Catalan nationalist who served briefly with the Republican government. Due to this, Tàpies grew up in an environment where he was very much exposed to a cultural and social experiences of leaders in the Catalan public life and its republicanism.
Tàpies was perhaps the best-known Spanish (Catalan) artist to emerge in the period since the Second World War. He first came into contact with contemporary art as a teenager through the magazine D’Ací i D’Allà, published in Barcelona, and during the Spanish Civil War (1936–39), while he was still at school, he taught himself to draw and paint. On a French government scholarship in the early 1950s he lived in Paris, to which he often returned.
In 1948, Tàpies helped co-found the first Post-War Movement in Spain known as Dau al Set which was connected to the Surrealist and Dadaist Movements. The main leader and founder of Dau al Set was the poet Joan Brossa. The movement also had a publication of the same name, Dau al Set. Tàpies started as a surrealist painter, his early works were influenced by Paul Klee and Joan Miró; but soon become an informal artist, working in a style known as pintura matèrica, in which non artistic materials are incorporated into the paintings.
In 1953 he began working in mixed media; this is considered his most original contribution to art. One of the first to create serious art in this way, he added clay and marble dust to his paint and used waste paper, string, and rags, his mixed media assemblages that combine the principles of Dada and Surrealism. His abstract and avant-garde works are displayed in many major museums all over the world.
Tàpies died in 2012 after a long illness.