Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York (acquired from the artist)
G. David Thompson, Pittsburgh (acquired by 1959 and sold: Parke Bernet Galleries, New York, March 23-24, 1966, lot 94)
Alfred H. Barr, Jr., New York (acquired at the above sale)
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1966 (acquired from the above through the Kay Sage Tanguy Fund)
Stephen Hahn (Lilybelle Foundation), New York (sold: Sotheby's, London, June 30, 1998, lot 32)
New York, Pierre Matisse Gallery, Miró, Recent Paintings, 1953, no. 25
New York, Pierre Matisse Gallery, Miró, peintures sauvages, 1934-1953, 1958, no. 17
Zurich, Kunsthaus, Thompson Pittsburgh: Aus einer amerikanischen Privatsammlung, 1960, no. 144 (illustrated upside-down in the catalogue and titled Hexennacht vor Allerheiligen (Halloween))
Düsseldorf, Kunstmuseum, Sammlung G. David Thompson, Pittsburgh, U.S.A., 1961, no. 144
The Hague, Gemeentemuseum, Collectie Thompson uit Pittsburgh, 1961, no. 137
New York, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, One Hundred Paintings from the G. David Thompson Collection, 1961 (titled as Halloween)
Turin, Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna, Collezione G. David Thompson, 1961, no. 95
Santa Barbara Museum of Art, 1991 (on loan)
James Thrall Soby, Joan Miró, New York, 1959, illustrated p. 142
Jacques Dupin, Joan Miró, Life and Work, New York, 1962, no. 821, illustrated p. 562 (titled as Painting on Masonite)
William Rubin, Miró in the Collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1973, illustrated p. 93 (titled as Person, Woman, Bird, Star at Sunset)
Jacques Dupin and Ariane Lelon-Mainaud, Joan Miró, Catalogue raisonné, Paintings, Vol. III: 1942-1955, Paris, 2001, no. 952, illustrated p. 222
In the early 1950s, Miró employed a wide variety of techniques and media, often choosing rough supports such as cardboard or masonite to obtain different effects. In the present work, formerly in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the artist gouges and burns a composition board to which he then applies oil and gesso. This technique enlivens the surface and adds an innovative dimension of texture. Although this work seems to arise from the abstract realm of imagination, there is still present an adherence to the signs and forms that can be found throughout the artist’s oeuvre.
When Miró painted Peinture in 1953, he had already become acquainted with the new techniques and aesthetic agenda of the Abstract Expressionists. He first saw their work in New York in 1947, and the experience, the artist would later recall, was like a “blow to the solar plexus.” Several young painters, including Jackson Pollock, were crediting Miró as their inspiration for their wild, paint-splattered abstractions. In the years that followed, he created works that responded to the enthusiasm of this new generation of American painters and the spontaneity of their art. His work from the end of the 1940s and the early 1950s is a fascinating response to the emerging trends, but, as evident in the present work, Miró retains a loyalty to his own artistic pursuits. “For me form is never something abstract,” he said at the end of the 1940s, “it is always a sign of something. It is always a man, a bird, or something else. For me painting is never form for form’s sake” (quoted in Margit Rowell, Joan Miró, Selected Writings and Interviews, Boston, 1986, p. 207).
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