Fundació Antoni Tàpies – The glorious past and vibrant present of “Action painting”

Fundació Antoni Tàpies – The glorious past and vibrant present of “Action painting”

Set up in 1984 with the aim of fostering the study and knowledge of modern and contemporary art, the Fundació Antoni Tàpies showcases one of the biggest collections of his art works but also hosts many temporary exhibitions by contemporary artists, various art symposiums, lectures and film sessions, and also produces publications which all complement the main activities and exhibitions devoted solely to Antoni Tàpies. If you are a fan of any form of abstract expressionism, and particularly of Tàpies, a visit to the Fundació Antoni Tàpies promises to provide you with hours of complete fulfillment!


The Fundació Antoni Tàpies was founded in 1984 by the artist Antoni Tàpies himelf, but it wasn’t until 1990 that it moved into the building that it occupies to this day. The building itself was built in 1885 and used to be a publishing house (Simon i Montaner) in the Eixample district. It was designed by one the most important Modernista architects Lluis Domènech i Montaner, donated by the city of Barcelona to the Fundació Antoni Tàpies in 1990 and finally declared a historical monument in 1997. When originally built, this was the first building in the district which combined exposed brick and iron, integrating industrial typology and technology. Located in Eixample’s Carrer d’Aragó, among a long line of 19th and 20th century buildings, this red brick house would be hard to spot if it wasn’t for the sculpture made by Tàpies himself that sits on the roof of the building looking like a mash of barbed wire from afar. Named “Núvol i cadira” (The cloud and the chair), the sculpture crowning the building is indeed made of barbed wire and makes the Fundació impossible to miss. The rooftop also boasts a small garden that is accessible to the public. If you find it familiar-looking but you are not sure where it is you’ve seen it before – it is probably from the movie “Vicky Cristina Barcelona” by Woody Allen, which used this garden as a setting for some of its scenes.

The gallery inside is relatively small but really well laid on three levels. The Tàpies exhibit rotates 4 times a year and each one presents a wonderful overview of his works, so whenever you decide to visit you are sure to find a great Tàpies exhibit on display! It usually occupies the second floor while the other two levels are dedicated to temporary exhibits by contemporary authors. The temporary exhibits change more often and can cover all kinds of (modern) art utilizing mixed media. Artists like Xavier Le Roy, Ibon Aranberri, Eva Hesse, Sanja Ivekovic, Fernando Bryce, Steve McQueen and many others have exhibited here in the past. If Tàpies’ work is not the main reason why you would visit the Fundació, it is best that you check the official website beforehand and see which temporary exhibit is on display during your visit to Barcelona.

To achieve its goal of contributing to a better understanding of contemporary art and culture, the Fundació Antoni Tàpies takes a plural, interdisciplinary approach and combines the temporary exhibitions with various symposia, lectures and film sessions which greatly enhance your learning experience. To further contribute to that learning experience, the Fundació also created a library which is located in the old warehouse, adjacent to the main building, which specializes in modern and contemporary art. With original warehouse shelves preserved, the library houses the largest archive on Tàpies’ work, but also an impressive collection on Asian, African and art from Oceania, along with hundreds of books on painting, sculpture, architecture, performance, photography, music, cinema, video and many other art forms. The library’s initial core came from Tàpies’ private collection, but grew steadily over the years and at present holds over 50,000 volumes. Make sure you see the exhibits before entering the library though, or at least make sure to check the time every now and then so you don’t end up browsing books until the closing time without seeing the rest of the Fundació. It may sound like a senseless advice but you wouldn’t be the first one who spent the whole day in the library.

Don’t miss the museum shop either as it holds many great items for art lovers on a budget (postcards, notecards, books and t-shirts) and gorgeous lithographs and silk scarves for those willing to spend a bit more.

Finally, whether you plan on visiting more than once during your stay or not, do consider finding accommodation in the locale. Just a few corners away from the central Plaça de Catalunya, the Eixample district is a wonderful residential area with lots of bars, restaurants and night-life options nearby and most city sights are within walking distance. Hotels sure are abundant, but there are many short-term apartments you can rent in this area too. Not only can they be a less expensive option, but the experience of staying in an apartment is quite different too. Why be a typical tourist staying in a hotel when you can immerse yourself in the local culture and pretend you live in Barcelona, even if only for a few days!


Aragó, 255


934 870 315

How to get there: Metro L3, stop Passeig de Gràcia. | Bus 20, 22, 24, 43 and 44. | Barcelona Bus Turístic, stop Casa Batlló-Fundació Tapies.

Web site:

Opening times:

Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

Closed on Mondays, 25th of December, 1st and 6th of January. 


General: €7

Reduced: €5.60

Special admissions fee for groups over 15 – advanced booking required