- 款識：畫家簽名 Miró 並紀年1925（右下）
Charlotte Mack, San Francisco
André Emmerich Gallery, New York
Mr & Mrs Frank Titelman, New York
Galerie K., Paris
Sale: Christie’s, New York, 8th November 2000, lot 53
Purchased at the above sale by the present owner
Pere Gimferrer, Les arrels de Miró, Barcelona, 1993, no. 272, illustrated p. 346
Jacques Dupin & Ariane Lelong-Mainaud, Joan Miró Catalogue Raisonné. Paintings, Paris, 1999, vol. I, no. 161, illustrated in colour p. 134
Unlike his contemporaries’ more explicit, figurative, version of Surrealism, Miró's artistic development took a different turn. For Miró the liberty granted by the Surrealist attitude to experimentation led him to become extremely imaginative with forms of representation, eventually leading to total abstraction. For instance, the ‘moustache’ motif central to the present work, was repeatedly used to indicate masculinity and even humanity as a whole in the ‘dream paintings’ (fig. 3 & 4). He had joined the Surrealist group in 1924, and participated in their first exhibition held at the Galerie Pierre in Paris in 1925. Breton's first Surrealist manifesto of 1924 proclaimed: 'I believe in the future resolution of these two states, seemingly so contradictory, which are dream and reality, into a kind of absolute reality, a surreality'. Breton commented that Miró 'may be looked upon as the most Surrealist among us' (A. Breton, ‘Le Surréalisme et la peinture’, in Jacques Dupin, Joan Miró: Life and Work, London, 1962, p. 156).
In the ‘dream paintings’ Miró’s painterly technique developed a striking honesty which was very different to the slick illustrative manner he had used before. The simplistic forms and elemental palette of white, black, blue, red and brown was applied with a verve and intensity which proclaimed the importance of the medium of expression as much as the subject of the work. The frottage-like impression of the stretcher bars found in the present work became a particular device the artist used in paintings during the mid-1920s (figs. 1, 3 & 4). This raw, candid style of painting has led Caroline Lanchner to note: ‘A curiously little-remarked phenomenon characterises the majority of paintings done after drawings of the A to E series. Sometimes subtly, sometimes brazenly, their surface films of scumbled paint are applied so as to show the traces of underlying stretcher bars. When Miró observed ‘I have always evaluated the poetic content according to its plastic possibilities’, his reference was not specifically to these paintings of 1925, but they illustrate his point. His unorthodox exploitation of the basic constituent fact of traditional easel painting that, before all else, the field of operation is a canvas supported by a rectangle of wood and one or more crossbars – paralleled the way his poet friends used the very arbitrariness of language to open it to new meanings’ (C. Lanchner, in Joan Miró (exhibition catalogue), The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1994, p. 42).
Peinture (Homme avec moustache) has all the essential qualities that marked Miró’s ‘dream paintings’ out as the high-point of his early career. Its rich and earthy colouration, the elegance of its construction and the importance of the motifs depicted serves to underline the outstanding qualities of Miró’s paintings. Alberto Giacometti once said of the inimitable quality of Miró’s art: ‘For me, it was the greatest liberation. Anything lighter, more airy, more detached, I had never seen. In a way, it was absolutely perfect. Miró could not put down a dot without it being in just the right place. He was so much a painter, through and through, that he could leave three spots of colour on the canvas and it became a painting’ (quoted in Joan Miró, 1917-1934 (exhibition catalogue), Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 2004, p. 212).