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). From the early 1930s onward, Miró experimented with 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. Executed while Miró was living in Barcelona, Métamorphoses is part of a series of humorous and inventive collage-drawings that differ from his previous works. Whereas the earlier collages were more rigorous in form and content and focused on images of machinery, these new works were more whimsical and liberated, incorporating images of kitshy postcards and advertisements, irreverent newspaper clippings, stencil and amusing decals appropriated from children's books. In the present composition, Miró cleverly placed these various collaged elements at random on a sheet so that they would become whimsical focal points of the male and female figures--the racy image of legs support the figure at left, the lady bug decal serendipitously becomes an eye and the architectural photograph from a newspaper at right serves as an ear. Miró playfully drew around these collaged images with brush and India ink, creating two whimsical figures, punctuated by spontaneous brushstrokes of dazzling red and green watercolor.
Dupin lauds Miró's collage-drawings as "surrealist montages of a sort, full of humor and freshness--very much masterpieces of this genre, not just because of the poetic state of grace they reflect, but even more because of the very great plastic resources that Miró, along with Max Ernst, brought to the service of fantasy--something few artists are capable of doing...Miró's superiority over his surrealist friends in this domain also rests upon the candor and casualness with which he solicited chance; there is a constant felicity and ease in his 'findings'" (in Miró, Paris, 2004, p. 180).