If there are artists whose work is incapable of crossing the borders of international taste, then the Spanish painter Antoni Tàpies is not one of them. Based in Barcelona, Tàpies (b. 1923) has been cited along with Picasso and Miró as one of his country’s premier modernists. He has achieved a worldwide recognition that few living artists can claim, and his work is not unknown in New York, where he has exhibited regularly since his 1953 debut at the Martha Jackson Gallery. Anyone with even a cursory knowledge of the art world will find his work familiar and, perhaps, prescient. Tàpies’s paintings of the Fifties and Sixties, for instance, can bring to mind the Neo-Expressionism of the Eighties. A case can be made for Tàpies being ahead of his time. Taking into account the nature of his influence, however, one wonders just how much such an accolade is worth.

For although there...

Introduce yourself to The New Criterion for the lowest price ever—and a receive an extra issue as thanks.
Popular Right Now