Lot 11
  • 11

Joan Miró

1,500,000 - 2,000,000 USD
bidding is closed


  • Joan Miró
  • Personnages, étoiles
  • Signed Miró and dated 1949 on the reverse
  • Oil on unstretched canvas
  • 9 1/8 by 21 7/8 in.
  • 23.3 by 55.3 cm


Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York

Acquired from the above


Jacques Dupin, Joan Miró, Catalogue raisonné, vol. III, Argenton-sur-Creuse, 2001, no. 680, illustrated p. 32 (as dating from 1944)

Catalogue Note

This jewel-like picture is populated by Surrealist figures which evoke the constellations of the night sky.  Miró gave up his practice of assigning poetic or elusive titles to his pictures as he had done in the 1930s, and in the years following the war he favored more straight-forward classifications for his work.  Women, birds, stars and moons festooned these pictures, but the artist did not compromise his imaginative impulses when rendering these forms.   In fact, it was these compositions from the the mid-1940s that would ultimately inspire the Abstract Expressionists in the United States. 

When Miró painted this canvas at the end of the 1940s, he was at the height of his international celebrity, following the wildly successful exhibition of his series of small-format gouaches, known collectively as the Constellations, some years before at Pierre Matisse's gallery in New York.  What the public, his dealer and his critics recognized in Miró's pictures from this era were a certain zeal and optimism that was in sharp contrast to the somber mood of post-war Europe.  Miró was in fact responding to that very mood, and he expressed his determination to persevere in his art.  The present work, with a boldness and visual bravura, beautifully exemplifies the resilience and triumph of his artistic pursuit.

In his working notes from this era, Miró makes particular mention of his preference for small canvases in the 1940s, stating "don't do excessively large canvases.  That could be a sign of mediocrity the way it is in tows that want to build big things, without giving a thought to the greatness of spirit they might contain" (quoted in Margit Rowell, ed., Joan Miró, Selected Writings and Interviews, Boston, 1986, pp.  184-85).