Albert Skira, Geneva (acquired from the above in the 1950s)
Michel & Sylvia Saudan-Skira (by descent from the above. Sold: Sotheby's, London, 24th June 1996, lot 51)
Private Collection, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner circa 2004
The rigorous structures are apparent in the present work which is formed by boldly coloured forms punctuated by the smaller details that are distinctive to Miró and offer the only figurative indicators in an otherwise abstract composition. The language of ‘image-signs’ that the artist had developed in the 1920s is here reduced to an eye, a daub of paint that denotes a moustache or a suggestive curve that might be a lock of hair or a smile. These images bear little resemblance to the natural world, and their function is more akin to that of words or music than to a literal representation of nature. The whimsical, enigmatic poetry of Miró’s vision made him unique amongst his fellow Surrealists. Whereas many of his contemporaries – following the ideology espoused by André Breton and his cohorts – generally worked in a figurative manner, for Miró the liberty granted by the Surrealist attitude to experimentation led him to become extremely imaginative with forms of representation, and eventually to embrace total abstraction.
In the present work Miró balances abstraction with the spirit of suggestive anthropomorphism that characterised much of his work in the earlier part of the decade. Dupin described this stylistic experimentation as integral to the artist’s creative development: ‘His creativity was an alternating current, and the energy of his mutations flowed from two equal and opposite poles. Contrasting styles and methods enhance and authenticate each other. Each grows by competing with the other, drawing its creative strength from the conflict, which is also a form of complicity […]. There is an ambivalence of style, but both styles come from a common nucleus’ (J. Dupin, Joan Miró. A Retrospective (exhibition catalogue), The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1987, p. 37). In the present work the new materiality, which is engendered by a playful synergy of colour and form, brilliantly illustrates both the artist’s engagement with Surrealist modes of expression and his ceaseless experimentation with modes of pictorial representation.
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