Antoni Tapies, Spain's greatest living artist, is a leading exponent of "matter" painting, a style characterized by encrusted layers of paint that create an effect of solid relief. His best-known works resemble sections of weathered wall, textured with the traces of time and human endeavor. This highly concrete, starkly immediate art reflects the artist's profound humanitarian concerns and continues the tradition of realism and solemn mysticism that has been characteristic of Spanish art through the centuries. Featuring high-quality reproductions of major works from all phases of the artist's career, this book traces the development of Tapies's art from the drawings of the 1940's, when he was forced by a potentially fatal disease to spend a long period in sanatoria, to the first "wall" paintings of the mid-1950's, from the assemblages of the 1970's to the fire-clay sculptures of recent years. A number of his latest paintings are discussed and illustrated. The author shows how the artist's intensely personal imagery is intimately related to his intellectual and political experiences. Throughout his career Tapies has been an advocate of freedom for his native Catalonia and, during the Franco dictatorship, was an outspoken champion of human liberty. Such concerns have caused the artist to avoid pure abstraction, whether by virtue of references to the visible world in his works or by the sheer force of their material presence. Tapies has drawn inspiration from a wide variety of sources: the art of Joan Miro and Paul Klee, of Surrealism and Far Eastern calligraphy have played as formative a role as have the music of Richard Wagner and the philosophy of Hegel, Jean-Paul Sartre, and the FarEast. He has absorbed these influences to fashion an art of confession, of manifestos and appeals, homages and protests. This overview of an oeuvre marked by the greatest personal and artistic integrity is completed by biographical notes and an extensive bibliography.