Antoni Tàpies (Spanish, 1923-2012) Pila de Diaris (Pile of Newspapers) 1970
Lot 22* AR
Antoni Tàpies
(Spanish, 1923-2012)
Pila de Diaris (Pile of Newspapers)
1970
£50,000 - 70,000
US$ 67,000 - 94,000

Lot Details
Antoni Tàpies (Spanish, 1923-2012) Pila de Diaris (Pile of Newspapers) 1970 Antoni Tàpies (Spanish, 1923-2012) Pila de Diaris (Pile of Newspapers) 1970
Antoni Tàpies (Spanish, 1923-2012)
Pila de Diaris (Pile of Newspapers)
1970

signed on the newspaper
oil, sand and glue on newspaper in an enamel and metal bowl

29 by 45 by 43 cm.
11 7/6 by 17 11/16 by 16 15/16 in.

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Martha Jackson, New York (acquired directly from the artist)
    David Anderson, Buffalo (by descent from the above)
    Acquired directly from the above by the present owner in 2005

    Exhibited
    Zurich, Galerie Maeght, Tàpies, 1971, cat. no. 57
    Buffalo, Albright-Knox Art Gallery; Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art; San Antonio, Marion Koogler McNay Art Institute; Des Moines, Des Moines Art Center; Montreal, Musée d'Art Contemporain, Antoni Tàpies: Thirty-three Years of His Work, 1977, cat. no. 119
    Saint Etienne du Rouvray, 34e Exposition de l'Union des Arts Plastiques, 1982, p.5, illustrated in black and white
    New York, Marta Cervera Gallery, Tàpies: Objects From the Early Seventies, 1989, illustrated in black and white
    Madrid, Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Extensiones de la realidad, 1990, p. 96, illustrated in colour
    Barcelona, Fundació Joan Miró, Extensions de la realitat, 1991, p. 82, illustrated in colour
    Bilbao, Guggenheim Museum, Antoni Tàpies: From Object to Sculpture (1964-2009), 2013-2014, p. 57, no. 9, illustrated in colour

    Literature
    Pere Gimferrer, Antoni Tàpies et L'Esprit Catalan, Barcelona 1976, p. 267, pl. 292, illustrated in black and white
    Andreas Franzke and Michael Schwarz, Antoni Tàpies, Werk und Zeit, Stuttgart 1979, p. 149, pl. 160, illustrated in black and white
    Miguel Fernandez-Braso, Conversaciones con Tàpies, Madrid 1981, p. 91, illustrated in black and white
    Josep Vallès Rovira, Tàpies Empremta (art-vida), Barcelona 1983, pl. 164, illustrated in black and white
    Barbara Catoir, Conversations Antoni Tàpies, Paris 1988, p. 116, pl. 81, illustrated in black and white
    Anna Augusti, Antoni Tàpies: Catalogue Raisonné. Volume 3, 1969-1975, Barcelona 1992, p. 116, n. 2130, illustrated in black and white



    Antoni Tàpies' Pila de Diaris, 1970, has never appeared on the market having been in the collection of Martha Jackson, and subsequently her son David Anderson, ever since the collector purchased it directly from the artist. It is a work which challenges its audience, prompting manifold questions and confronting aesthetic expectations. Its original title, in the artist's native Catalan, translates into English as 'Pile of Newspapers', a simple description for what at first may appear to be a simple artefact. However, in his use of found objects and mundane materials, Tàpies has in fact created a work of art which defies convention and compels its viewer to consider, to carefully cogitate. Ultimately, it is its very simplicity which makes Pila de Diaris so involving, so puzzling and so profound.

    This sculpture, which undoubtedly reflects Tàpies' fascination with the philosophical tenets of Zen Buddhism, pulls together two basic elements, namely a pile of folded newspapers which are nestled comfortably into an enamelled metal bowl. Although there is nothing unusual about either of these materials, both of which might be seen on any sideboard in any house in any city in any country across the world, placing them together creates a strange, unexpected interplay. Suddenly something new emerges, a novel and avant-garde dialogue develops from two everyday items. In conjuring up this unusual relationship, Tàpies was surely invoking the spirit of Dadaism, and recalling in particular the assemblages of Marcel Duchamp. A development of the ready-mades, in which Duchamp presented single mass-produced objects, such as the famous bottle dryer or the notorious urinal, Duchamp's assemblages pulled together multiple objets trouvés into sculptural forms, forging works of art both shockingly innovative and strangely familiar. Perhaps the best-known example of Duchamp's assemblages is his Bicycle Wheel of 1913, which juxtaposes the wheel of a push-bike and a white wooden kitchen stool, creating in the process a surprisingly captivating end result.

    Pila de Diaris belongs to an important group of sculptures by Tàpies in which he utilised the stuff of life; worn-out rags, pristine white plates, broken planks of wood, bricks and even straw. For him, however, it was not the material that mattered, it was the forms that they created, and the process that they went through in order to become art. The body of this work may be humble newspaper, and its pedestal an austere white bowl, but the relative unimportance of the media is all part of its impact. In its rejection of the smooth, pure marble or burnished bronze of artistic tradition, the present lot demonstrates the artist's quest to reassess ideas of aesthetic value and creative worth.

    There is, however, artistic involvement with the objects here, Tàpies is smothering the flat plane of the top newspaper with messy pigments. This intervention brings to mind Robert Rauschenberg's iconic Bed of 1955, which is now housed in the collection of MoMA, New York; but while Rauschenberg still shows some attachment to the idea of a wall-mounted 'canvas' in his work, Tàpies rejects any semblance of this historic practise. For Tàpies, the paint was a method of blocking out the news print, removing any sense of connotation or context. Without the text, these newspapers lose their meaning, and become simply elements in a sculpture. The use of thick black and rich, russet red are typical of the artist's oeuvre of this period, which often employs colours which are earthy, primal, and unostentatious, tones which were also commonplace in the landscape and architecture of his native Barcelona.

    There is no easy solution to the enigma that is Pila de Diaris, 1970. In creating this work, Tàpies was not setting up a riddle to be solved; there is no right answer to the conundrums that it poses, no secret key that unlocks layers of hidden meaning. Instead, this sculpture requires reflection, and it is surely this reflection that is its purpose. It begs various questions: what is a suitable medium for sculpture? What, if anything, does this sculpture mean? When does an everyday item become a work of art? What, even, is art? For anyone viewing the present work, it is this compulsion to contemplate, this journey towards a potential truth that is important, the distance covered more significant than the vague, mirage-like destination.

    The recent inclusion of Pila de Diaris in the Guggenheim, Bilbao's 2013-2014 From Object to Sculpture, an unprecedented exhibition which comprehensibly reassessed the artist's three dimensional works, confirms its importance in the evolution of Tàpies' long, distinguished career. And if the work reminds us of a specific time, a period when art was being pulled apart, then rebuilt and refashioned, then it also remains remarkably relevant. The questions that it elicits are, after all, ultimately timeless, and the search that it provokes is potentially endless.
Activities
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations

ALL BIDDERS MUST AGREE THAT THEY HAVE READ AND UNDERSTOOD BONHAMS' CONDITIONS OF SALE AND AGREE TO BE BOUND BY THEM, AND AGREE TO PAY THE BUYER'S PREMIUM AND ANY OTHER CHARGES MENTIONED IN THE NOTICE TO BIDDERS. THIS AFFECTS THE BIDDERS LEGAL RIGHTS.

If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Wine, Coins & Medals and Motor Cars and Motorcycles:
A successful bidder at this sale will be required to pay Bonhams 1793 Limited ("Bonhams") a premium calculated as follows:
25% on the first £100,000 of the hammer price
20% on the excess of £100,001 and up to £2,000,000 of the hammer price
12% on the excess of £2,000,001 of the hammer price

VAT at 20% will be payable on the amount of the premium.

The premium is payable for the services to be provided by Bonhams in the Buyer's Agreement which is contained in the catalogue for this Sale and for the opportunity to bid for the Lot at the Sale.

Payment Notices

Payment in advance: by cash, cheque with banker's card, credit card, bank draft or traveller's cheque.

Payment at collection: by credit or debit card.

Credit card charges: a surcharge of 2% is applicable when using Mastercard, Visa and overseas debit cards.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licences please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

Lot symbols
* Import low rate

VAT on imported items at a preferential rate of 5% on Hammer Price and the prevailing rate on Buyer's Premium.

AR Artists Resale Right

Goods subject to Artists Resale Right Additional Premium.

Contacts
  1. Customer Services (UK)
    Customer services
    Bonhams
    Work
    Work +44 20 7447 7447
    FaxFax: +44 20 7447 7401
  2. Contemporary Art
    General enquiries
    Bonhams
    Work
    Work +44 20 7468 5878
    FaxFax: +44 20 7468 5883
  3. Shipping (UK)
    Logistics - Shipping
    Bonhams
    Work
    Work +44 20 7468 8302
    FaxFax: + 44 20 7629 9673
Similar Items