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Joan Miró (1893-1983)

Mont-roig, le pont

Joan Miró (1893-1983)
Mont-roig, le pont
signed and dated 'Miró 1917' (lower right)
oil on canvas
18 1/8 x 22¾ in. (46.1 x 57.7 cm.)
Painted in 1917
Valentine Gallery, New York.
E.V. Thaw & Co., New York.
Acquired by the father of the present owner in the early 1970s.
J. Dupin, Joan Miró, Life and Work, London, 1962, no. 40 (illustrated pp. 110 and 504).
P.A. Serra, Miró i Mallorca, Barcelona, 1984, no. 183 (illustrated p. 139).
J. Dupin, Miró, Paris, 1993 (illustrated fig. 50, p. 52).
D. Giralt-Miracle, El crit de la terra. Joan Miró i el Camp de Tarragona, Barcelona, 1994, no. 20, p. 86.
J. Dupin & A. Lelong-Mainaud, Joan Miró, catalogue raisonné. Paintings, vol. I, 1908-1930, Paris, 1999, no. 44 (illustrated p. 42).
Barcelona, Galeries Dalmau, Miró, February - March 1918, no. 61. Paris, Galerie La Licorne, Exposition de peintures et dessins de Joan Miró, April - May 1921, no. 12.
Palma de Mallorca, Sa Llotja, Miró, September - October 1978, no. 78 (illustrated p. 83).
Sevilla, Cartuja de Santa Maria de las Cuevas, El Paisaje Mediterraneo, June - October 1992.
Barcelona, Centre d'Art Santa Mònica, Miró-Dalmau-Gasch: l'aventura per l'art modern, 1918-1937, June - July 1993, no. 13 (illustrated p. 41).
Barcelona, Centre de Cultura Contemporània, El noucentisme: Un projecte de modernitat, December 1994 - March 1995, no. 395.
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Giovanna Bertazzoni
Giovanna Bertazzoni

Lot Essay

'To a free spirit, everything in life produces a different sensibility and what we would like to see on the canvas is the vibration of a spirit, a very heterogeneous vibration... May our brush keep time with our vibrations' (Joan Miró, letter to J.F. Ràfols, Montroig, 13 September 1917).

Le pont - Montroig is one of an exceptional group of landscape paintings Miró made in the summer of 1917 in the Catalonian landscape around his family home in Montroig. It was in these works that Miró first began to 'synthesize' his perception of the landscape with his deep-rooted spiritual feeling for it through the use of exaggerated and vaguely abstract form and intensified colour. Drawing stylistically on the combined influence of Fauvism and Cubism and fusing them into a unique formal language, Miró attempted in these works to commune with the landscape and to render it as a personal vision of his inner experience. 'On the one hand he submitted to the rhythm of nature,' Miró's friend and biographer Jacques Dupin has said of these works, 'merely accentuating, purifying, exalting it; on the other, he drew reality into the inner rhythm he imposed on it' (Miró, New York, 1993, p. 50).

In responding to the landscape in this way, simplifying the forms of reality and abstracting it with the bold simple forms and vivid colour that Miró described at the time as 'Fauvist', he began to discover his own unique personal vision, seemingly emerging through the forms and unique presence of the Montroig landscape. This was a vision that was to culminate in 1922 with his great painting The Farm, while Montroig itself would, despite Miró's many years away from the region in Paris and elsewhere, forever remain the artist's spiritual and creative home.

As Miró wrote to his friend Ricard during this important summer, it was his 'solitary life' in around Montroig, and the 'primitivism' of its 'admirable people', that gave rise to the 'very intense work and above all (his) spiritual contemplation' of the land. 'I have withdrawn inside myself,' Miró asserted, 'and the more sceptical I have become about the things around me the closer I have become to God, the trees, the mountains, and to Friendship. A primitive' (Letter to Ricart, August 25, in M. Rowell (ed.), Joan Miró Selected Writings and Interviews, London, 1987, p. 50).

Le pont - Montroig depicts the winding tracks of the dry river-bed as it winds under the bridge and through the harsh but vital summer landscape of Montroig. Like Montroig- la rivière, which depicts the same scene from further downstream, it presents a holistic sense of the sky and the landscape as a hard but vital living presence. Using wheel-like abstractions that are in places reminiscent of Delaunay's Orphic wheels to render the lines of force of the wind blowing through the foliage, the painting hovers on the edge of that other, new and more deeply felt reality that would spring to light from this landscape in The Farm and The Tilled Field a few years later.

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