NEW YORK - Sotheby’s is pleased to announce that it will offer a significant group of over 1400 lithographs and aquatints from Le Lézard aux plumes d’or I, The Seers and Erik Satie Poems and Songs from the collections of Joán Miró publisher and collaborator, Louis Broder, and noted Miró scholar, Patrick Cramer. Each print is initialed by Patrick Cramer, annotated with the Broder inventory number and inscribed with the applicable catalogue raisonné number on the verso in pencil. Follow the link for the complete inventory of the lot.
Louis Broder, a publisher of illustrated books and other graphic works, commissioned artists such as Pablo Picasso, Georges Braque, Jean Arp, Jacques Villon and Joán Miró to create interpretations of literary works, poetry and musical compositions in a variety of printed media. This group of lithographs and aquatints was acquired directly from the publisher’s estate.
Miró’s letters to Louis Broder chronicle the creation of the 1967 edition of Le Lézard aux plumes d’or, now known as Le Lézard aux plumes d’or I. The correspondence underscores the importance of illustrated books to Miró’s body of work, which has largely been forgotten. For example, after apparently suggesting that a lithograph be excluded from Le Lézard aux plumes d’or, Broder received an uncharacteristically forceful reply dated August 8, 1963, “…I consider it an absolute necessity to add (the plates) to the book…This literary interlude in my life is an important document and explains much. Therefore, it is essential that these works are concentrated together and not scattered.”
Miró saw no difference between painting and poetry and strove to communicate imagery his poem stimulated in his mind through a different medium, not simply illustrate the action of the text. The interaction between text and image ideally suited the artist’s interest in surrealism. In order to fall into a type of surrealist reverie that facilitated this free association, Miró required ideal working conditions, which he described to Broder in a letter dated March 9, 1963. “In order to be able to work properly, I have to be absorbed in the excitement of the work; the slightest interruption jeopardizes this concentration.”
In August 1963, Miró wrote to Broder that if the lithographs were successful, they would “…sustain the reverberation of poetic excitement…” Miró experienced when reading his poem. However, lithography requires a printer execute an artist’s intent, thus, separating the artist from the finished work, creating an obstacle to the project’s success. To mitigate this risk, Miró stressed the importance of close collaboration between the artist, printer and publisher in a September 1963 letter to Broder. “The collaboration between us all [artist-printer-publisher] is…really something fundamental [to the entire project].”
After signing the several trial proofs sent by Celestin as Bon á Tirer, which signified that the proofs effectively communicated his artistic intent, Miró congratulated Broder in a series of letters in 1965 and 1966. He noted that “The architecture of the book is perfect the way it is. Everything hangs together and the text highlights the images and vice versa…I think we have triumphed.” Another letter describes Celestin’s “noble craftsmanship” and remarks that, “…the marriage between the two elements [text and image] is perfect and sustains the reverberation of poetic excitement we were hoping for...”
In 1967, Celestin finished printing Le Lézard aux plumes d’or. Shortly afterwards, Miró and Broder discovered an error in the paper distorted the lithographs’ colors. True to the initial vision for the project, the artist and publisher decided not to publish the edition. The Mourlot catalogue raisonné incorrectly notes that the edition was destroyed. Sotheby’s is proud to unveil this hitherto lost edition of Le Lézard aux plumes d’or I to the public after nearly fifty years in the collections of the publisher and Patrick Cramer.