- Joan Miró
PERSONNAGES DEVANT L'OISEAU-FUSÉE QUI S'ENFUIT
- signed Miró (lower right); signed Miró, titled and dated 27/X/74 on the reverse; titled and dated 27/X/74 on the stretcher
- oil on canvas
- 146 by 114cm.
- 57 1/2 by 44 7/8 in.
Personnages devant l'oiseau-fusée qui s'enfuit is a striking example of Miró's late works, featuring the characteristic iconography of figures and birds. Executed with a technical assurance and the economy of pictorial means typical of the last decades of his career, the present work shows his style verging between figuration and abstraction. For Miró, women, birds, stars, the moon, the sun, night and dusk formed a poetic language. He first introduced the motif of a woman with a bird, in a realistic manner, in his paintings of 1917, but it was only after his celebrated Constellations series of 1941, in which human figures, birds and stars feature prominently, that this theme became the primary subject of his art. Commenting on this subject matter, the artist himself pronounced: 'It might be a dog, a woman, or whatever. I don't really care. Of course, while I am painting, I see a woman or a bird in my mind, indeed, very tangibly a woman or a bird. Afterward, it's up to you' (J. Miró & Georges Raillard, Ceci est la couleur de mes rêves, Paris, 1977, p. 128).
Whilst taking recognisable objects as his starting point, in the present work Miró builds his composition using a pictorial lexicon of signs and symbols. After his trip to New York in 1947, Miró became acquainted with the art of the Abstract Expressionists and was fascinated by their new techniques and their aesthetic agenda. As the artist later recalled, the experience of seeing canvases of the Abstract Expressionists 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 canvases. In the years that followed he created works that responded to the enthusiasm of this younger generation of American painters and the spontaneity of their art. It was also under their influence that he started painting on a large scale, such as in the present work. The paintings he created from the early 1950s onwards are a fascinating response to these new trends of abstraction, while at the same time showing Miró's allegiance to his own artistic pursuits.
Fig. 1, verso of the present work