Lot 22
  • 22

Joan Miró

450,000 - 600,000 GBP
623,650 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Joan Miró
  • signed Miró, titled and dated 28-11-46 on the reverse
  • gouache and sealing wax on unstretched canvas


Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York
James Goodman Gallery, New York
Perls Galleries, New York
Russeck Gallery, Palm Beach
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2004


Jacques Dupin, Joan Miró: Life and Work, London, 1962, no. 678, illustrated p. 551 (as dating from 1945)
Jacques Dupin & Ariane Lelong-Mainaud, Joan Miró, Catalogue Raisonné. Paintings, Paris, 2001, vol. III, no. 804, illustrated in colour p. 113

Catalogue Note

When Miró painted this canvas in 1946, he was at the height of his international acclaim. The previous year, the New York dealer Pierre Matisse had exhibited the artist's celebrated series of Constellations to enormous praise. The demand for Miró's work in the United States had become so great that in August 1946 Pierre Matisse offered to purchase the artist's entire production of 1942-46 and to finance him for the next two years. Better yet, Miró was invited to the United States to create what would be his first public commission - a mural for the Terrace Plaza Hotel in Cincinnati. What the public, his dealer and his critics recognised in Miró's paintings from this era was a certain zeal and optimism that was in sharp contrast to the sombre mood of post-war Europe. Femmes et oiseau dans la nuit is a composition populated by Miró's recognisable Surrealist characters – two highly stylised human figures and a bird suspended above them.

Jacques Dupin wrote about the artist's production from 1946: 'Although the handwriting will tend to become freer and invention more flexible, nonetheless his works of 1946 follow the lines established in the paintings of the two preceding years. [...] we find the confirmation and the continuing development of an art which becomes progressively less capricious, less anxious, and more self-assured. All the paintings of this year are characterized by the abandonment of the purely rhythmic elements and signs that abounded in 1945. The artist concentrates on his figures and animals, now making them more and more unlike each other, even odder and more humorous in character ... (a) renewed passion for artistic materials produces grounds of great richness and animation' (J. Dupin, op. cit., 1962, p. 382).

The present work amply demonstrates the vigour of Miró's experimentation with new materials. His exploration of painting on irregularly shaped pieces of canvas resulted in a number of works executed between 1944 and 1945. They are recognised for their lively animation and humour, populated with a profusion of figures and signs. Dupin held them in high regard, commenting that 'The artist's imagination roams freely on them, and he improvises with much greater ease and casualness. The absence of the easel seems to have freed him from the usual constraints... The gestures that create them are swift and sure' (ibid., p. 378).