Acquavella Galleries, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2003
Washington, D.C., Corcoran Gallery of Art; St. Petersburg, Salvador Dalí Museum & Portland, Portland Art Museum, The Shape of Color: Joan Miró's Painted Sculpture, 2002-03, no. 19b, illustrated in colour in the catalogue (with incorrect medium)
Emilio Fernández Miró & Pilar Ortega Chapel, Joan Miró, Sculptures. Catalogue raisonné, 1928-1982, Paris, 2006, no. 269, illustrated in colour p. 258
Executed in 1972, Miró’s boldy coloured Projet pour un monument dates from a period of his career in which sculpture played a crucial role. However, the genesis for the Projet pour un monument goes back to the early 1940s around the time Miró created his celebrated Constellations. The fantastic figures of women with wide hemmed skirts and lunettes of brilliant colour that inhabit the series gradually evolved into fully formed three-dimensional figures. The present work was executed as part of a project for a public sculpture for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Although Miró never created the actual monument, Project pour un monument was later realised as a monumental bronze, one cast of which is placed in a public square in Milan (fig. 1), and another in front of the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas.
In 2003 several of these sculptures all titled Projet pour un monument, including the present work, went on display in an exhibition titled The Shape of Color: The Joan Miró Painted Sculpture. Discussing these works in the exhibition, David Cohen wrote: ‘Several works in this show are maquettes for larger prospective “monuments”, as he called his public commissions. These are made in plaster, with concrete in mind as the eventual medium, and are keenly informed by his work in ceramic. Here the relationship of color to form is entirely different from that in the bronzes. The rough texture is a support for painted shapes and patterns, although, as Projet pour un monument, 1972-79 demonstrates, there is still the desire to accent distinct body parts, in this case ears and horn-like arms. The colored or painted resin pieces are, semiotically-speaking, somewhere between the painted bronzes and the monuments; like the bronzes, color relates to isolated objects and part-objects, but like the monuments, volumes are more organic, and created ex nihilo’ (D. Cohen, ‘Joan Miró: The Semiotics of Desire’, in Sculpture Magazine, 1st April 2003).
Miró’s use of resin to cast the present sculpture is an example of his interest in materials and how they can influence the feel and purpose of a work of art. The use of resin and other modern materials like fibreglass was gaining popularity among sculptors working in Europe and America, including Niki de Saint-Phalle and Jean Dubuffet, as it offered artists a way to give their sculpture rich colour and extravagant postures. In the present work, Miró has chosen to enhance the natural surface of the resin with thickly applied paint giving a richness and substance to the figure.
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