UNESCO mourns passing of acclaimed Spanish painter Antoni Tàpies

Detail of the painting of Antoni Tapiès "Totes les coses", at UNESCO House. Photo: UNESCO/Michel Ravassard

7 February 2012 – The head of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today paid tribute to the Spanish painter and sculptor Antoni Tàpies, who has died at the age of 88, calling him an “emblematic figure in contemporary art.”

Irina Bokova, UNESCO’s Director-General, issued a statement in which she offered her condolences to Mr. Tàpies’ family and friends, to the city of Barcelona “that he loved and to which he gave so much,” and to the Spanish Government and people.

“Antoni Tàpies revolutionized abstract art by inventing a formal language of rare intensity from simple materials with very few means,” she said. “His death is a tremendous loss for all art lovers.”

Mr. Tàpies donated one of his works, Totes les Coses (“All Things”), to UNESCO House in 1995 to mark the agency’s 50th anniversary. He said at the time that the work was a symbol of his respect for all things in the universe and for variety in unity.

The Catalan artist also designed medals struck by UNESCO to commemorate the centenary of the births of Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró, in 1981 and 1993 respectively.

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