Details & Cataloguing

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale


Joan Miró
1893 - 1983
signed Miró (towards lower right); signed Miró., dated 2/IX/72. and titled on the reverse
acrylic on canvas
81.2 by 18.8cm., 32 by 7 3/8 in.
Painted on 2nd September 1972.
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Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York
Acquavella Galleries, New York
Galerie Deux Co Ltd (sale: Sotheby's, New York, 13th November 1997, lot 490B)
Galeria Oriol, Barcelona (purchased at the above sale)
Galeria Guillermo de Osma, Madrid
Private Collection, Spain
Thence by descent to the present owner


Paris, Grand Palais, Joan Miró, 1974, no. 123
New York, Pierre Matisse Gallery, Miró: Paintings & Sculpture 1969-1974, 1975, no. 9, illustrated in colour in the catalogue


Jacques Dupin & Ariane Lelong-Mainaud, Joan Miró, Catalogue raisonné, Paintings, 1969-1975, Paris, 2003, vol. V, no. 1458, illustrated in colour p. 100

Catalogue Note

A striking example of Miró’s mature work Oiseaux explores the artist’s unique pictorial language. Motifs such as women, birds and stars became a form of poetic language for the artist and the primary subject of his art. 'It might be a dog, a woman, or whatever. I don't really care. Of course, while I am painting, I see a woman or a bird in my mind, indeed, very tangibly a woman or a bird. Afterward, it's up to you' (Joan Miró & Georges Raillard, Ceci est la couleur de mes rêves, Paris, 1977, p. 128). Colour and form adopt a symbolic rather than literal manner and it is with this innovative lexicon of signs and symbols that Miró’s enigmatic canvases invite a wide range of responses in the viewer.

Miró’s mature works demonstrate an expressive freedom that reflects the ‘automatic’ painting of the Surrealist group, whom Miró was greatly aligned with but never explicitly joined. The vertical scale of this work further reflects the artist’s interest in abstraction and its execution is reminiscent of the spontaneity of brushwork found within the works of the Abstract Expressionists. The artist’s later works are a fascinating response to new trends in abstraction, reacting to the enthusiasm of Abstract Expressionists, such as Jackson Pollock, who in turn credited Miró with influencing the spontaneous application of paint on their canvases.

Miró created two works entitled Oiseaux on 2nd September 1972 and they can be seen to complement one another. After its conception, the present work was sent to New York where Miró was represented by the New York dealer Pierre Matisse whilst its counterpart was sent to the Parisian Galerie Maeght.

Oiseaux was exhibited in the seminal retrospective of Miro’s work in Paris at the Grand Palais, in 1974 and now 45 years later it comes to auction coinciding with the Grand Palais’ hosting of a second retrospective of Miró’s work (October 2018 - February 2019).

Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale