PARIS - Joán Miró was 83 when he painted Personnage, Oiseau but you’d never guess, such is the youthful zest of this luminous work.  Miró was regaining his creativity at the time, and producing works at a frenetic rate. Nothing seemed capable of stopping his élan.

Joan Miro’s Personnage, oiseau, 1976. Estimate €1,000,000 – 1,500,000 ($1,390 000 – 2,080 000).

He painted on recycled supports, playing with forms and shimmering colours and, like a child keen to get involved in his own work, used the palms of his hands or even the weight of his body to work the matter. Personnage, Oiseau is typical of this creative vitality. The work is in oil, gouache and pastel on recuperated paper, and nearly 5 feet high. Although it is a work on paper, Miró treats it like a painting through the exuberant colours and subtle allusion to the freedom of American abstractionists. He revisits his favourite subject matter to offer a superb ideogram embodying his unique style. The figure has the appearance of an enigmatic Cyclops, surveying us out of the corner of its eye, but the mystery is counter-balanced by a childlike verve – one that had many years left in it: Miró’s whimsical poetry would delight the world with for almost another decade.


Sotheby’s France – Impressionist & Modern Art
Auction: Wednesday 4 June – 6:30pm