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    Sale 12070

    Impressionist & Modern Art Works on Paper

    13 May 2016, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 1048

    Joan Miro (1893-1983)

    Sans titre IV

    Price Realised  


    Joan Miro (1893-1983)
    Sans titre IV
    signed 'Miró' (lower right); dated and numbered '25/IV/73. IV.' (on the reverse)
    pastel, brush and India ink and gray wash, charcoal and grattage on paper
    25 ½ x 19 5/8 in. (65 x 50 cm.)
    Executed on 25 April 1973

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    The bluntly robust aspect that runs through Miró's painting during the 1960s and 1970s is in marked contrast with the more refined linear character of the artist's middle period during the Second World War and the immediate post-war era. Opportunities taken for international travel contributed significantly to the renewed intensity and innovative freedom that Miró brought to his work during his final decades. The artist made his second trip to the United States in 1959 to attend the opening of his retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. He renewed contacts with artists that he met on his first stay in America in 1947, and now admired the great flowering and triumphant success of Abstract Expressionism. This encounter came at a crucial juncture in Miró's career. To Jacques Dupin, Miró stated, "It showed me the liberties we can take, and how far we can go, beyond the limits. In a sense, it freed me" (quoted in Miró, Paris, 2012, p. 303). "When I saw those paintings, I said to myself, 'You can do it, too; go to it, you see, it is O.K.!'" (interview with M. Rowell, ed., Joan Miró, Selected Writing and Interviews, Boston, 1986, p. 279).
    The works of the 1960s display increasing gestural boldness and frequent accidentally derived innovations in the handling of his brushes and paints. These compositions reveal an improvisatory, sometimes even vehement spontaneity, and project a confrontational presence, leavened with humor. At the same time, Miró retained the disciplined approach of the more traditionally centered, image-oriented School of Paris sensibility in depicting his subject matter. American painters admired Miró's work as a living link between the fabled surrealism of the inter-war decades and their own postwar developments. Indeed, Miró now saw it as his turn to return the compliment and absorb trans-Atlantic ideas into his own efforts. He returned to America again in 1961 and 1964, continuing his dialogue with American artists and their work.
    No less an influential factor on Miró's late work was the style and techniques of Japanese painting and calligraphy. Miró had been long aware of the affinities in his work with Japanese fine and decorative arts, especially while creating his ceramics. The terseness of his poems and picture titles, moreover, owed something to the example of the haiku form in Japanese verse. In the fall of 1966 Miró made his first trip to Japan, on the occasion of a retrospective exhibition that was shown in Tokyo and Kyoto. Miró drew inspiration from this trip to focus his imagery into concentrated and unified gestures of black paint that resemble the expressive characters—his signs having become like the ideograms—in Japanese calligraphy (e.g., Dupin, no. 1337). "I feel deeply in harmony with the Japanese soul" he told Pierre Bourcier in 1968 (quoted in ibid., p. 275).
    Commentators likened his meditative method to that of a practitioner of the precepts of Zen archery. Miró declared to Margit Rowell in 1970, "I work more and more in a state of trance, I would say almost always in a trance these days I consider my painting more and more gestural" (ibid., p. 279). In 1973, now into his eighties, Miró neither slowed down nor turned away from the art of his time. His receptive and exploratory sensibility continued to enable him to absorb and adapt the techniques of younger artists and the lessons of other cultures to his own pictorial ends. Miró’s method of creation through successive color fields induced him to consolidate and condense the system of signs which his art had created. Mysterious in their asceticism, the sparse signs in the present work crystallize Miró’s interiorized vocabulary with renewed emphasis. In its poetic intent, however, it continues the relationship between poetry and painting that was at the core of Miró’s art. A friend of poets such as Jacques Prévert and René Char, Miró conceived his paintings as visual poems: "I make no distinction between poetry and painting", he declared (J. Dupin, op. cit., 2012, p. 432).


    Estate of the artist.
    Galerie Lelong, Paris.
    Manny Silverman Gallery, New York.
    Acquired from the above by the present owner, April 1995.


    J. Dupin and A. Lelong-Mainaud, Joan Miró, Catalogue Raisonné, Drawings, 1973-1976, Paris, 2013, vol. IV, p. 56, no. 2517 (illustrated in color).