1923 - Antoni Tàpies is born into a cultured family in Barcelona on 13 December.  His father is a lawyer, and his mother comes from a family of publishers and booksellers.

 

1934 - He starts to draw. 

 

1936-39 - The Civil War and the bombing of Barcelona mark him profoundly. He begins to teach himself to paint and draw. Franco comes to power and has a major effect on his life and artistic career.

 

1942-43 - Comes close to death after suffering a lung infection and heart attack. During a lengthy convalescence he makes copies of Van Gogh and Picasso and develops an interest in philosophy, romantic music, and Asiatic culture.

 

1944 - Begins to study law, which he abandons in 1946 to concentrate all his energies on painting.

 

1945-46 - As with Primitivism and Expressionism, he takes a great interest in materials and experiments with collage and frottage. At this stage, Tàpies is marked by three major Influences - Surrealism, political engagement, and the Far East. 

 

1947 - Meets the poet Joan Brossa and Joan Prats, who encourage him in his work. 

 

1948 - With Barcelona painter and writer friends who, like him, are attracted by Surrealism, Tàpies founds the journal Dau al set (the seventh face of a dice) dedicated to art and poetry. Produces his first prints in the studio of Enric Tormo.  Meets Joan Miró, and a great friendship is born. 

 

1950 - First personal exhibition in Barcelona, at the Galeries Laietanes. Relocates and settles in Paris, where the contemporary art world is in the throes of debate, in particular between the painters of the geometric abstraction and lyrical abstraction movements. Also exhibits in Pittsburgh.

 

1951 - After several experimental geometric compositions, Tàpies develops a personal language, undertaking research on materials and matter to achieve an ever-denser texture by mixing various substances. «Little by little», he says, «this gave me the idea of forming matter by mixing all kinds of particles - sand, earth of different colours, Spanish white, marble dust, hair (…) or threads, pieces of cloth, paper, etc., so that I felt I was able to produce the impression of a cosmic accumulation of millions of elements (...)». He engraves, incises, scratches, notches, and tears this thick, hard material. His works evoke old walls or graffiti from the streets of Barcelona, while ideograms and crosses or «T» motifs frequently and increasingly strike through his compositions, like signatures or erasures. 

Meets Picasso at his studio in the Rue des Grands Augustins. 

 

1952 - Exhibits at the Venice Biennale. 

 

1953 - He signs a contract with the Martha Jackson Gallery, which lasts until 1961. Meets abstract expressionists such as Tobey, Kline, Motherwell, and Pollock, and creates parallels in his own work. His daughter Clara is born. 

 

1955 - In Paris, he meets the critic Edouard Jaguer and, in particular, Michel Tapié, who immediately takes an interest in his work and produces several monographs. 

He settles in the Montseny mountains in Catalonia, where he sets up a modern workshop in a 15th century farmhouse:  its old walls have a profound effect on his painting, which is often characterised by ochre, brown, grey, black, and white. The artist uses increasingly lowly and humble materials (cardboard box, crate, paper, cloth, string, etc.), which sometimes form the theme of his work and anticipate the methods of using found objects and materials as espoused by the New Realists.

 

1956 - First solo exhibition in Paris at the Stadler Gallery, after which he continuously exhibits worldwide. 

Travels in Italy, where he admires the frescoes of Giotto.

 

1960 - Awarded the Prize at the Tokyo International Biennial of Engraving. His son Miquel is born.

 

1962 - Retrospectives at the Guggenheim Museum, New York, the Zurich Kunsthaus, and the kestnergesellschaft in Hanover. Produces a wall panel for the Abbey Library of Saint Gall (Switzerland). 

 

1965 - Without abandoning material and matter, Tàpies reintroduces the figure in his work (footprints, silhouettes, body parts). «For me, research is essential, but I’ve never abandoned the idea that images should always be added (…)».

 

1966 - Spends time in prison for supporting a meeting of anti-Franco students. 

 

1967 - First solo exhibition in Paris at the Galerie Maeght, which marks the beginning of a long relationship. 

 

1970 - Publication of La Pràctica de l’Art, a collection of writings and articles.

 

1971 - He intensifies his production of sculptural objects and experiments in assemblage.

 

1972 - First carborundum etchings printed and published by Polígrafa in Barcelona, which heralds the start of a long series of editions.

 

1973 - Retrospectives at the Charleroi Palais des Beaux-Arts, the City of Paris Musée d’Art Moderne and the Geneva Musée Rath. 

 

1977 - Publication of his autobiography. 

 

1980 - First retrospective in Spain at the Madrid Museum of Contemporary Art.

 

1981 - Produces his first ceramics and makes initial forays into sculpture. Starts to paint using the varnish he had previously used as a binder, thereby coming closer to the techniques and artists of the Far East. 

Awarded the Gold Medal in the Fine Arts presented by the King of Spain. 

 

1984 - Sets up his own foundation to promote the study and understanding of modern and contemporary art. 

 

1985 - Retrospective at the Brussels Musée d’Art Moderne. 

 

1987 - In his monumental work «Gran diptic dels mitjons», Tàpies elegantly deploys his love of oriental art. His light, flexible calligraphy forms a landscape expressing an insistent humility and constant spirituality. 

 

1990 - Inauguration of the Fundació Tàpies in Barcelona. Awarded the Imperial Prize for Painting, presented in Tokyo. 

 

1993 - Awarded the Grand Prize for Painting and Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale. First exhibition at the Pace Gallery in New York. Publication of the collection of texts El valor del art. 

 

1994 - Retrospective in Paris, at the Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume.

 

1999 - Retrospective of graphic works at the Palacio de Sástago in Zaragoza. Exhibition of prints at the Museo del Grabado Espanol Contemporáneo in Marbella. 

 

2000 - Major retrospective at the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid. 

 

2001 - Donation by the artist to the French Bibliothèque Nationale.

 

2012 - Antoni Tàpies dies in Barcelona at the age of 88.