Details & Cataloguing

Surrealist Art Evening Sale


Joan Miró
1893 - 1983
signed Miró (centre left); signed Joan Miró, titled and dated 23/3-4/4/36 on the reverse
pencil, India ink, wash, decal and watercolour on paper
64 by 47.8cm.
25 1/8 by 18 7/8 in.
Executed between 23rd March and 4th April 1936.
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Richard Feigen Gallery, New York

M. Knoedler & Co., New York

B.C. Holland Gallery, Chicago

Private Collection, USA (acquired from the above. Sold: Sotheby's, New York, 7th May 2014, lot 51)

Purchased at the above sale by the present owner


Chicago, The Art Institute of Chicago, Joan Miró. Works from Chicago Collections, 1961, no. 24, illustrated in the catalogue


Jacques Dupin, Joan Miró, Catalogue Raisonné. Drawings, Paris, 2008, vol. I, no. 598, illustrated p. 288

Catalogue Note

In late March and early April 1936, while living on his family farm at Montroig, Miró executed a series of collage-drawings all titled Métamophose (fig. 1). The artist considered his work of this year to be his sauvage (‘savage’) period, and it was during this time that he developed the iconography and pictorial vocabulary that would inhabit the remainder of his œuvre. Executed only a few months before a right-wing coup against the government of the Second Spanish Republic which unleashed a brutal civil war, Métamorphose captures some of the anxieties that weighted heavily upon the artist. The collaged elements of the composition - flowers, birds and butterflies - are juxtaposed with the drawing of a distorted figure and hastily, almost violently applied washes and splashes of watercolour and ink. The title refers to the metamorphosis of a human figure into a grotesque character, which stands in sharp contrast to the innocent and colourful quality of the images of natural life applied by transfer technique.

This group of Métamorphose collage-drawings was created during a brief interlude while Miró was working on his celebrated series of paintings on copper and Masonite. Jacques Dupin wrote about Miró’s works from this period: ‘The premonition, the foreshadowing of the Spanish civil war, as well as the horrors of the Nazis and Franco drastically changed his manner of painting and drawing. Fear and cruelty took over his forms and colors. Deformations were pronounced to the point of metamorphosis. Monstrous beings unfurled and blossomed in an exacerbated eroticism […].Miró’s monsters did not come from elsewhere they were not taken from some distant or legendary mythology, but rather were transmuted excerpts from the close at hand and familiar’ (J. Dupin, op. cit., p. 11).

Surrealist Art Evening Sale