In 1956, Miró moved into new studios on the terraced hills above Calamayor in Majorca, the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, realized by his friend and architect Josep Lluís Sert. The years 1955-1959 saw Miró abandon painting almost entirely in favour of ceramics and printmaking, a shift that was partly due to the bewilderment of new surroundings, and indeed Miró himself admitted that it took him some time to populate and animate the studio with collected objects. A further consequence of the move was that Miró found himself surrounded by works of art from forty years of creativity. The result of this retrospection was an exploration into the unknown.
Following his return from America in 1959 where he attended his retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, Miró resumed painting and his output was once again prolific. Prompted by his reaction to the works of Robert Motherwell and Jackson Pollock that he had encountered in New York, Miró's brushstrokes became at once more robustly gestural and graffiti-like, with vibrant splashes of colour; the subjects being reduced to their essential linear aspect, becoming ideograms. There is an undeniable urgency to these works.
Oiseaux dans l'espace belongs to a series of some 54 works referred to as cartones, these works sharing cardboard as their surface medium. Oiseaux as a motif had long held a strong identity for Miró; the subject was central to his language of signs and the bird represented something that was at the same time terrestrial, in flight and of the Universe. However, for Miró, the act of painting was a journey of discovery in itself. He was himself fascinated with how a picture originated on the canvas, beginning with a simple mark or form or an accidental wipe of a brushstroke. 'Forms take reality for me as I work. In other words, rather than setting out to paint something, I begin painting and as I paint the picture begins to assert itself, or suggest itself under my brush. The form becomes a sign for a woman or a bird as I work.'
In the present work the artist has reduced the subject to its essence; a few economical, bold lines serve as counterpoint to the free play of splashes and spots of colours - a pure revelation of the act of painting. Oiseaux dans l'espace represents an early example of the artist's mature style.