Jacques Dupin explained Miró's approach to creating monumental sculptures such as the present work: "These works began with Miró slipping out of his studio, unseen, only to return with an impromptu harvest of objects — his bounty — without value or use, but susceptible, in his view, of combinations and surprising metamorphoses. all of these objects had been abandoned, thrown away or forgotten by nature and man alike, and Miró recognized them as his own.... For Miró, all paths were strewn with such marvelous nothings; all of life's refuse remained alive." (Dupin, ibid., p. 374).
The quality of the present bronze is further enhanced by its extraordinary patina and surface texture. Miró worked with several foundries throughout the course of his career, including the Bonvicini Foundry in Verona which cast the edition to which this bronze belongs. Discussing Miró’s focus on the finish of his bronzes, William Jeffett notes: "Miró chose a patina which preserved the rough and varied 'fire skin', or the unfinished surface of the bronze metal as it appears when emerging from the mold. This technique produced a variegated surface pattern, green in colour, which imitated the accidental variations in surface resulting from the high temperatures reached in casting. This was a calculated effect, however, requiring as much effort on the part of the foundry artisans as more classically inspired surfaces" (William Jeffett, A Note on the techniques of Bronze Casting, Joan Miró Sculpture, South Bank Center Touring Exhibition, 1989-90, p. 19).
Oiseau was originally made by Miró as a unique sculpture in 1968 for the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence. In 1981, the artist enlarged the form, which was then cast in bronze in a numbered edition of 6, plus one artist’s proof. Other casts from this edition belong to The Museum of Fine Arts Houston (number 5/6) and the Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Center for visual Arts at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California (number 1/6).
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