Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale


Joan Miró
1893 - 1983
signed Miró (towards lower right); signed Miró and dated 1949 on the verso
pen, brush and ink, wax crayon, oil and white impasto on paper
51 by 66cm., 20 by 26in.
Executed in 1949. 
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Galerie Maeght, Paris
Galerie Gissi, Turin
Galleria Alfieri, Venice
Private Collection, Milan
Acquired by the present owner in 2003


Turin, Galeria Gissi, Le Sillabi mute dell'immaginazione, 1971, no. 25


Jacques Dupin & Ariane Lelong-Mainaud, Joan Miró, Catalogue raisonné, Drawings 1938-59, Paris, 2010, vol. II, no. 1204, illustrated in colour p. 192

Catalogue Note

Executed in 1949 Sans titre is a work that channels the immediacy and energy of Joan Miró’s hand. Rife with symbolism and magical suggestiveness, Sans titre derives power from its intuitive and imaginative pictorial language, characteristic of Miró’s unique artistic world.

Executed in Barcelona during an exceptionally prolific period for the artist, that followed Miró’s fruitful sojourn in Paris. Having returned to Paris after eight years of absence, his arrival was met with vigorous welcome from the Parisian arts scene, compelling poet and art critic Georges Limbour to exclaim, 'We have been waiting a long time, but at last you are back.' (quoted in Jacques Dupin, Joan Miro: Life and Work,  New York, 1962, p. 390). Miró’s successes, particularly evident in his contributions to the International Surrealist Exhibition at Galerie Maeght in 1948, left him intoxicated and inspired. Upon his return to Barcelona in 1949, he ventured to produce two distinct series of paintings, none of which were titled. The first was a series of elaborate work, created with incredible precision that harked back to the dizzying purity of his Constellations (1939-1941) and the miniaturism of La Ferme (1921-1922). The present work belongs to the second series, a spontaneous elaboration of the artist’s impulses, created with gusto and energetic temperament that through its bold lines and raw gestures open the cage to Miró’s wildest instincts.

Through thick black brushworks, heightened by unprompted bursts of red, yellow and blue, Miró’s second series derives veracity from its gesticular physicality and dynamism, allowing the viewer to visualise the artist’s movement and creative process. Like ghostly apparitions conjured from a dream, the artist’s emblematic symbols are brought to life from their subconscious form, defying logic in the form of Miró’s rocket, moon and personnage. Summoning a pictorial language that is deployed from his very own subconscious, the artist elucidates an incredibly inventive and successful series, described by French art critic Jacques Dupin as ‘characterised by their rapid, rough, improvised execution; they seem to have been tossed off, and their power lies above all in the gesture. For such are now the rules of the game; the artist dispenses with all that smacks of laborious creation, all refinement, all revision; once he is warmed up to a point where he feels he can communicate, he plunges ahead, coping with every phase of the creative process simultaneously – like a train that refused to make local stops’ (Ibid, p. 395).

In its flurry of rapid brushworks met with thick slabs of white paint and puckered spots of colour, the artist’s chaotic impulse in Sans Titre gives the viewer insight into his own artistic method. From the tremulous effervescence of his brush work, to the arbitrary and determined lines, the work emanates an aggressive rawness that preceded Tachism itself. The highly personal language of Miró’s second series leads Dupin to argue that while the first series was ‘first and foremost creations, the latter communications' (Ibid, p. 393).

A celebration of the artist’s autonomy of gesture, primitive impulse and creative temperament, Sans titre archetypically illustrates Miró’s whimsical world: one that communicates the collective human subconscious in an aesthetically pleasing and innovative manner.

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale