Antoni Tàpies' Catalan Turn.


  • Claudia Grego March UCSB


Antoni Tàpies, art, political art, Franco dictatorship, Catalan nationalism, Catalan artistic nationalism


During the 1950s Antoni Tàpies entered the international artistic scene as a follower of the American Abstract Expressionism and the French Art Autre. Tàpies was rapidly considered as the representative artist of the “materic painting” due to the support of international art dealers, but also to his collaboration with the program of artistic promotion conducted by the Spanish regime during the 50s and the 60s. Participant and beneficiary of the “desideologization” produced in postwar Spanish art, since 1965 the Barcelona artist started to gradually approach a politicized position where Catalan nationalism played a fundamental role.


In this paper, I analyze the construction of Antoni Tàpies’ Catalanist profile during the late years of the Francoist dictatorship. As I demonstrate, while the political character of his work was still disregarded in Spain, by the late 1960s, France became the irrigator center of the ideologization of his artistic production. Thanks to the renewed image projected by the French art circles, after 1968 Tàpies was promoted in Catalonia as a fervent anti-Francoist artist and a defender of Catalan freedom. Far from naively accepting this change, this paper will critically discuss how this politicization was produced. Delving into his ideological ambiguities, we will see how this politicization didn’t only emerge from Tàpies political convictions, but also from his strategic artistic interests