Lot 37
  • 37

JOAN MIRÓ | Double-Face Painting

250,000 - 350,000 GBP
bidding is closed


  • Joan Miró
  • Double-Face Painting
  • oil and nailed bark on wood (recto)oil and nailed card on wood (verso)
  • 65.5 by 21.5cm.
  • 25 3/4 by 8 1/2 in.
  • Executed in 1948.


Galerie Maeght, Paris Acquired by the present owner by 2001


Brussels, Palais des Beaux-Arts, Joan Miró, Rétrospective, 1956, no. 135 Basel, Kunsthalle, Joan Miró, 1956, no. 141

Zurich, Kunsthaus, Joan Miró. Das plastiche Werk, 1972, no. 7 (titled Planche double face, as dating from 1950 and with incorrect measurements)


Jacques Dupin & Ariane Lelong-Mainaud, Joan Miró, catalogue raisonné. Paintings, Paris, 2001, vol. III, no. 826, recto and verso illustrated in colour p. 132 (with incorrect measurements and verso illustration reversed)

Catalogue Note

In 1927 Miró famously proclaimed that he wanted to ‘assassinate painting’, and over the following decades he produced works that embody a paradox unique to his œuvre: whilst creating art that went against traditional notions of painting, he never ceased to be a painter and to see himself primarily as a painter. Several decades after this proclamation, Miró explained: ‘Anti-painting was a revolt against a state of mind and traditional painting techniques that were later judged morally unjustifiable. It was also an attempt to express myself through new materials: bark, textile, fiber, assemblages of objects, collages, and so on’ (quoted in Joan Miró: Painting and Anti-Painting, 1927-1937 (exhibition catalogue), The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 2008-09, p. 1).  

Stunning in its simplicity as well as its daring innovativeness, the present work eloquently exemplifies this complex, paradoxical quality of Miró’s art: it is at once a painting and a sculpture or, perhaps, neither a painting nor a sculpture. While the very title denotes it as a painting, it contains images on two sides and is therefore experienced as a three-dimensional object. Combining the techniques of collage and painting, the artist creates a simple yet expressive image, relying solely upon the lexicon of signs and symbols that he had developed over the years. By incorporating found materials such as bark and pieces of scrap card, he adds to the three-dimensional character of the work, blurring the traditional boundaries between ‘high’ and ‘low’ art. As the authors of the recent exhibition Miró and the Object wrote: ‘Miró disrupted conventional approaches to painting by incorporating non-painterly materials or by selecting unusual formats, thereby both denying the medium’s traditional function as illusion and affirming its material status as an object’ (Miró and the Object (exhibition catalogue), Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona, 2015-16, p. 93).