31
31
Joan Miró
TÊTE D'HOMME
Estimate
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LOT SOLD. 1,328,750 GBP
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31
Joan Miró
TÊTE D'HOMME
Estimate
Irrevocable Bids
Lots with this symbol indicate that a party has provided Sotheby’s with an irrevocable bid on the lot that will be executed during the sale at a value that ensures that the lot will sell. The irrevocable bidder, who may bid in excess of the irrevocable bid, will be compensated based on the final hammer price in the event he or she is not the successful bidder or may receive a fixed fee in the event he or she is the successful bidder. If the irrevocable bidder is the successful bidder, the fixed fee (if applicable) for providing the irrevocable bid may be netted against the irrevocable bidder’s obligation to pay the full purchase price for the lot and the purchase price reported for the lot shall be net of such fixed fee. If the irrevocable bid is not secured until after the printing of the auction catalogue, a pre-lot announcement will be made indicating that there is an irrevocable bid on the lot. If the irrevocable bidder is advising anyone with respect to the lot, Sotheby’s requires the irrevocable bidder to disclose his or her financial interest in the lot. If an agent is advising you or bidding on your behalf with respect to a lot identified as being subject to an irrevocable bid, you should request that the agent disclose whether or not he or she has a financial interest in the lot.
Artist's Resale Right
Purchase of lots marked with this symbol will be subject to the payment of the artist's resale right.
Double Dagger
Indicates that the lot is being sold whilst subject to Temporary Importation, and that VAT is due at the reduced rate
Guaranteed Property
Guaranteed Property. The seller of lots with this symbol has been guaranteed a minimum price from one auction or a series of auctions. If every lot in a catalogue is guaranteed, the Conditions of Sale will so state and this symbol will not be used for each lot.
600,000800,000
LOT SOLD. 1,328,750 GBP
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Details & Cataloguing

Actual Size: A Curated Evening Sale

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London

Joan Miró
1893 - 1983
TÊTE D'HOMME
signed Miró and dated 2.31. (lower right); titled on the reverse
oil on canvas
27 by 22cm.
10 5/8 by 8 5/8 in.
Painted in February 1931.
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Provenance

Galerie Maeght, Paris

Albert Skira, Geneva (acquired from the above in the 1950s)

Michel & Sylvia Saudan-Skira (by descent from the above. Sold: Sotheby's, London, 24th June 1996, lot 51)

Private Collection, New York

Acquired from the above by the present owner circa 2004

Literature

Jacques Dupin & Ariane Lelong-Mainaud, Joan Miró. Catalogue Raisonné. Paintings, Paris, 2000, vol. II, no. 332, illustrated in colour p. 21

Catalogue Note

Painted in 1931, Tête d’homme marks a significant development in Miró’s search for a unique visual language. Jacques Dupin describes the works from the first half of this year as marking a tipping-point, providing ‘the necessary transition, clearing the way for a new, more affirmative, more powerful style which will subject lyrical flights to the rigorous control of the plastic artist. Poetry remains the supreme goal of Miró’s art, but his means for attaining it become richer and more complex. In short, his purpose becomes that of disciplining expression by opposing to lyricism the fruitful resistance of rigorous structures’ (J. Dupin, Joan Miró. Life and Work, London, 1962, p. 243).

The rigorous structures are apparent in the present work which is formed by boldly coloured forms punctuated by the smaller details that are distinctive to Miró and offer the only figurative indicators in an otherwise abstract composition. The language of ‘image-signs’ that the artist had developed in the 1920s is here reduced to an eye, a daub of paint that denotes a moustache or a suggestive curve that might be a lock of hair or a smile. These images bear little resemblance to the natural world, and their function is more akin to that of words or music than to a literal representation of nature. The whimsical, enigmatic poetry of Miró’s vision made him unique amongst his fellow Surrealists. Whereas many of his contemporaries – following the ideology espoused by André Breton and his cohorts – generally worked in a figurative manner, for Miró the liberty granted by the Surrealist attitude to experimentation led him to become extremely imaginative with forms of representation, and eventually to embrace total abstraction.

In the present work Miró balances abstraction with the spirit of suggestive anthropomorphism that characterised much of his work in the earlier part of the decade. Dupin described this stylistic experimentation as integral to the artist’s creative development: ‘His creativity was an alternating current, and the energy of his mutations flowed from two equal and opposite poles. Contrasting styles and methods enhance and authenticate each other. Each grows by competing with the other, drawing its creative strength from the conflict, which is also a form of complicity […]. There is an ambivalence of style, but both styles come from a common nucleus’ (J. Dupin, Joan Miró. A Retrospective (exhibition catalogue), The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1987, p. 37). In the present work the new materiality, which is engendered by a playful synergy of colour and form, brilliantly illustrates both the artist’s engagement with Surrealist modes of expression and his ceaseless experimentation with modes of pictorial representation.  

 

Actual Size: A Curated Evening Sale

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London