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    Sale 1996

    Impressionist And Modern Works On Paper

    7 May 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 163

    Joan Miro (1893-1983)


    Price Realised  


    Joan Miro (1893-1983)
    signed 'Miró' (lower left); signed again, dated and titled 'JOAN MIRÓ 14/5/1938 HAUT' (on the reverse)
    gouache, colored wax crayons, newspaper, wallpaper and fabric collages and hair on paper
    30 1/8 x 22 1/8 in. (76.5 x 56.2 cm.)
    Executed on 14 May 1938

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    Jacques Dupin describes the early 1930s as years of great importance in the development of Miró's work:

    It was just at this time that his art underwent changes as sudden and far reaching as to deserve the term 'cataclysmic.' The serene works of the years devoted to concentration on plastic concerns and to spiritual control of figures and signs now gave way to a new outburst of subjectivism, to an expressionistic unleashing of instinctual forces. The volcano which for some years now had been quiescent suddenly erupted. The clear skies suddenly clouded over, and a violent storm proceeded to darken the peaceful artistic climate--indeed, to shake Miró's art to its foundation (in Joan Miró, Life and Work, London, 1962, p. 262).

    Miró, from the early 1930s onward, went through a period of continuous experimentation in various techniques and materials: paintings and drawings on cardboard and sandpaper, drawings in India ink on white paper, paintings on uralita wood, tempera paintings on masonite, oil paintings on copper and experimental collage.

    The present work belongs to this period of fervent experimentation and creativity. Haut is part of a series of both humorous and complex collage-drawings that differ from his previous works. Whereas the earlier collages were more rigorous in form and content, these new works were more haphazard and liberated, incorporating newspaper clippings, found objects and often banal materials. In the present composition, Miró, has attained a powerful duality of humor and horror. The collage forms a silly moustached figure (the inclusion of human hair was seen often in his contemporary Surrealist Salvador Dalí's work) with a colorful suit made of printed wallpaper. Upon closer inspection this chirpy character's attire is peppered with newspaper clippings that depict tragedies: an aerial explosion, a man being beaten while mounted to a cross, a house ravaged by a natural disaster. The fusion of printed materials both innocuous and provoking, the contrast of lavish color and black and white print, the imagery both playful and political--together create a hybrid that challenges and engages the viewer. While the randomness of the collage is very Dada in nature, there is immense depth and distress evident in the present work.

    Dupin remarks of often complex and mysterious works, "It would seem that Miró could do anything he liked in this domain of organic metamorphosis into which he had penetrated, and to which he alone held the key. We shall see with what extraordinary formal richness he depicted this traumatized world" (in Miró, Paris, 2004, p. 194).


    Pierre Matisse, New York (acquired from the artist).
    By descent from the above to the present owner.

    Saleroom Notice

    Jacques Dupin has confirmed the authenticity of this work.

    Pre-Lot Text