Private collection, Barcelona Acquired from the above by the present owner in 1974
Enric Jardí, Joaquim Mir, Barcelona, 1989, p. 54, no. 42, catalogued & illustrated, p. 54, illustrated, p. 277, no. 42, listed
Painted circa 1901, Mir's chromatic interpretation of the verdant mountains surrounding the town of Sóller in Mallorca brilliantly captures the evening light and rocky peaks that run the length of the island's north-western coast.
Mir had settled in Mallorca in 1900, and remained on the island, with intermittent trips to Barcelona, until 1904. These four years were the most decisive of his life on both a personal and artistic level, and during that time he became obsessed with the beauty of the dramatic vistas and distinctive limestone rock formations that characterise the island's coast. Drawn to the Tramontana mountains' most inaccessible and least frequented landscapes, Mir explored the drama of the peaks and canyons between Puerto de Sóller and Pollença. The ensuing canvases that he completed of this isolated region reflect an expressive abandon that abstracts the beauty of the landscape, capturing the wild terrain through an explosive range of brilliant colour harmonies. Early on Mir was joined in Mallorca by fellow Catalan Santiago Rusiñol and the Belgian painter William Degouve de Nuncques, both of whom shared Mir's fascination with the Tramontana range and the atmospheric light conditions to be found there.
Mir’s first major exhibition at the Sala Parés in Barcelona in 1901 included many of his Mallorcan canvases and caused a sensation among the public. Even the most critical reviewers proclaimed that the most important Catalan painter of landscape had been born. Buoyed up by the success of his 1901 show, Mir became further determined in his efforts to express the particular qualities of the Serra de Tramontana, to the extent that by the end of 1903 he was living in the mountains in virtual isolation. There, in pursuit of ever more dramatic landscapes, he climbed to precipitous heights in search of novel perspectives, on one occasion suffering a fall that left him unconscious for several hours. Indeed, so intense became his labours in Mallorca that by 1904 he began to suffer psychologically, and was interned for a period at an asylum in Reus.
The canvas has not been lined and is securely attached to a keyed wooden stretcher which appears to be of the period. A faint stretcher mark corresponding to the upper horizontal stretcher member is visible upon close inspection. There is a fine pattern of hairline craquelure in the dark greens in the lower half of the composition, where some pin-head sized spots of paint flaking are also visible, notably in the lower left quadrant. Some other minor spots of paint flaking are also visible in the upper part of the extreme left framing edge. Inspection under ultra-violet light reveals no visible sign of retouching.
This work is in good, apparently original condition and is ready to hang.
Presented in decorative gilt frame with a white inner slip. "In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."