Spanish painter and sculptor Tapies dead at 88

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MADRID (AP) -- Antoni Tapies, a Spanish painter and sculptor who was one of the world's top contemporary art figures, has died. He was 88.

A statement from the government of his native Catalonia region in the northeast said Tapies died Monday evening in Barcelona. It said he had been in poor health since 2007.

Tapies was one of Spain's main exponents of abstract and avant-garde art in the second half of the 20th century.

He was known for sprawling works that sometimes featured discarded everyday materials.

Other trademarks were crosses and the letter X, and the number 4, symbolizing the four elements of nature and the four cardinal points.

Tapies won many awards over the course of his career including the Velazquez Prize, Spain's top art award, in 2003.