Jarry's character of Ubu Roi (Père Ubu) was the modernist anti-hero and identifiable by Miró as a critique of the Franco regime in his native Spain. Cruel and coarse, acting always outside the rules of polite society, Ubu ingratiates himself into the court of the King of Poland. Eventually killing his host, la Mère Ubu attempts to steal her husband’s cached booty, ending up in the arms of his foe. Returning to her husband for forgiveness, she takes the form of the angel Gabriel, and is saved by the entrance of her former lover mid-conflict, with the Macbethian plot ending with Ubu and his wife fleeing to France. These absurdist pathways and characters fascinated the Surrealists who saw a prescient reflection of their current society and its political players.
Although these works were made in the early 1950s, they were not publicly shown until the early 1980s. An exhibition of the entire series took place at Perls Gallery in New York in 1982. John Russell, writing in the New York Times, effused: "The radiance of the color, the energy of the drawing and the freedom of the invention make these paintings a joy to look at if we have never heard of Alfred Jarry and regard General Franco as a fabulous monster, long forgotten" (John Russell, "Critics' Choices" in The New York Times, April 11, 1982, p. 3).
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