The motif and composition are first accessed through the title, Tête, referencing the multitude of figurations that begin to emerge. Although the symbols that account for Miró’s iconography are undoubtedly abstract, for him they represented immediate manifestations of his perceived reality or subjects. With reference to the signs and symbols embedded in his work, Miró remarked: '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).
Tête exemplifies Miró’s continued confidence in the potential of his line while simultaneously espousing his later experimentations with other expressive forms of mark-making. The work sits at the intersection of control and spontaneity, where experimental and emotive flecks of pure white paint and pastel embrace the linear figures. These drippings of white paint pierce through their hazy, brown background, evocative of the stars against the night sky – another of the artist’s favored motifs.
On finding a balance between the spontaneous and deliberate, Miró stated: 'I provoke accidents – a form, a splotch of color. Any accident is good enough. I let the matière decide. Then I prepare a ground by, for example, wiping my brushes on the canvas. Letting fall some drops of turpentine on it would do just as well. If I want to make a drawing I crumple the sheet of paper or I wet it; the flowing water traces a line and this line may suggest what is to come next' (Joan Miró & Jacques Lassaigne, Miró, New York, 1963, p. 46). Tête is an excellent example of this complex equilibrium, as Miró first crumpled the paper before embarking on the composition. The effect is furthered by the choice of support – a richly toned brown Japanese paper – as the textured and antiqued background offsets the crisp, bright abstract forms. The paper is yet another of Miró’s many experiments during the 1960s and 1970s, where he worked with a range of mediums, from canvas fragments to burned masonite. The final result is a dynamic and poetic composition, one which oscillates between abstraction and figuration, spontaneity and intent, and innovation and tradition
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