In the fall of 1936, as the war advanced with no end in sight, Miró returned to Paris. Leaving behind his family (who would join him in December) and approximately one hundred unfinished canvases, Miró’s first few months in exile were shrouded with anxiety, expressed to his friend Pierre Matisse in a letter on January 12, 1937: “I feel very uprooted here and am nostalgic for my country. But what can be done? We are living through a hideous drama that will leave deep marks in our mind” (quoted in Anne Umland, Joan Miró, Painting and Anti-Painting (exhibition catalogue), Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2008-09, p. 214). Created during this time, Deux personnages are two characters depicted as biomorphic forms that oscillate between figuration and abstraction, seeming to recall the deformation present in the work of another Catalan whose work was based on the imaginary—the architect Antoni Gaudi.
By the time he executed the present work, Miró was enjoying relative acclaim for the unmatched orginality of his paintings from the early 1930s. Herbert Read, an English poet and art critic, wrote of Miró in a publication from 1934: "Everyone must grant Miró the sensibility of a supreme artist; there are paintings of his which leave this sensibility so naked and obvious, that only the aesthetically blind can refuse to respond—pictures in which a single sensitive line explores a field of pure colour, tracing, as it were, the graph of the artist's acutest point of sensibility, registering the seismographic disturbances of a mind exposed to the assaults of the senses" (quoted in Christian Zervos, ed., Cahiers d'art, vol. 9, nos. 1-4, 1934, p. 52). Despite this positive critical acclaim, Miró eschewed any sense of artistic comfort, constantly seeking novel forms of expression within his art.
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