32
32

PROPERTY OF A EUROPEAN COLLECTOR

Joan Miró
OISEAU, INSECTE, CONSTELLATION
Estimate
2,000,0003,000,000
LOT SOLD. 2,285,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT
32

PROPERTY OF A EUROPEAN COLLECTOR

Joan Miró
OISEAU, INSECTE, CONSTELLATION
Estimate
2,000,0003,000,000
LOT SOLD. 2,285,000 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

|
New York

Joan Miró
1893-1983
OISEAU, INSECTE, CONSTELLATION
Signed Miró (center right); signed Miró, dated 2/III/74 and titled on the reverse
Oil on canvas
50 3/4 by 38 in.
129 by 96.5 cm
Painted on March 2, 1974.
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Provenance

Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York

Acquavella Galleries, New York

Hakoné Museum, Gôra, Japan

Acquired from the above

Exhibited

Paris, Grand Palais, Miró, 1974, no. 210, illustrated in the catalogue

Wichita, Edwin A. Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Joan Miró. Paintings and Graphics, 1978

Washington, D.C., Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution & Buffalo, Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Miró, 1980, no. 45, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Houston, The Museum of Fine Arts, Miró in America, 1982, no. 32, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Zurich, Kunsthaus & Düsseldorf, Kunsthalle, Miró, 1986, no. 167, illustrated in color in the catalogue

New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Miró, 1987, no. 145, illustrated in color in the catalogue

Literature

Walter Erben, Joan Miró,Cologne, 1988, illustrated in color p. 215

Jacques Dupin, Miró, Paintings V. 1969-1975, Paris, 2003, no. 1599, illustrated in color p. 203

Catalogue Note

The dramatic Oiseau, insecte, constellation is a striking example of Miró's late work, featuring the poetic iconography that occupied the artist throughout his career. Executed with a technical assurance and the economy of means typical of his last decades, the present work shows his style oscilating between figuration and abstraction. For Miró, women, birds, stars, the moon, the sun, night and dusk formed a poetic language. He first introduced the motif of a woman with a bird, in a realistic manner, in his paintings of 1917, but it was only after his celebrated Constellations series of 1941, in which human figures, birds and stars feature prominently, that this theme became the primary subject of his art. Commenting on this subject matter, the artist pronounced: "It might be a dog, a woman, or whatever. I don't really care. Of course, while I am painting, I see a woman or a bird in my mind, indeed, very tangibly a woman or a bird. Afterward, it's up to you" (J. Miró & Georges Raillard, Ceci est la couleur de mes rêves, Paris, 1977, p. 128).

The frenetic expressiveness of the artist's brushwork here calls to mind the works of Willem de Kooning completed around the same time.  After his trip to New York in 1947, Miró became acquainted with the art of the Abstract Expressionists and was fascinated by their new techniques and their aesthetic agenda. As the artist later recalled, the experience of seeing canvases of the Abstract Expressionists was like "a blow to the solar plexus." Several young painters, including Jackson Pollock, were crediting Miró as inspiration for their wild, paint-splattered canvases. In the years that followed he created works that responded to the enthusiasm of this younger generation of American painters and the spontaneity of their art. It was also under their influence that he started painting on a large scale, such as in the present work. The paintings he created from the early 1950s onwards are a fascinating response to these new trends of abstraction, while at the same time showing Miró's allegiance to his own artistic pursuits.

By the time he completed the present work in 1974, Miró's composition had gained a level of expressive freedom and exuberance that evidenced his confidence in his craft.    Jacques Dupin elaborated on the semiotic importance of figuration in these late paintings, "[t]he sign itself was no longer the image's double, it was rather reality assimilated then spat out by the painter, a reality he had incorporated then liberated, like air or light.  The importance of the theme now depended on its manner of appearing or disappearing, and the few figures Miró still endlessly named and inscribed in his works are the natural go-between and guarantor of the reality of his universe.  It would perhaps be more fruitful to give an account of those figures that have disappeared than of the survivors" (ibid. pp. 339-40).

Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale

|
New York