Joan Miró (1893-1983)
Sans titre
pencil, sandpaper, corrugated cardboard, card, paper, metal hook, twine, painting tubes and pastel box laid down on board and nailed into the artist's wooden frame
23 1/8 x 30¾ in. (58.8 x 78.2 cm.) (including frame)
executed circa 1934
Lucien Lefebvre-Foinet, Paris (gift from the artist, by 1938).
Private collection, France (by descent from the above); sale, Christie's, London, 6 February 2006, lot 114.
Jan Krugier, acquired at the above sale.
J. Dupin and A. Lelong-Mainaud, Joan Miró: Catalogue raisonné. Drawings, 1901-1937, Paris, 2008, vol. I, p. 226, no. 470 (illustrated in color).
Munich, Kunsthalle der Hypo-Kulturstiftung, Das ewige Auge: Von Rembrandt bis Picasso, Meisterwerke aus der Sammlung Jan Krugier und Marie Anne Krugier-Poniatowski, July-October 2007, p. 442, no. 213 (illustrated in color, p. 443).
New York, Jan Krugier Gallery in collaboration with Richard L. Feigen & Co., Drawing in Space, November 2007-January 2008, no. 21 (illustrated in color).
Ferrara, Palazzo dei Diamanti, Miró: la terra, February-May 2008, p. 137, no. 20 (illustrated in color).
Madrid, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Miró: Earth, June-September 2008, p. 232, no. 28 (illustrated in color, p. 113).
New York, The Museum of Modern Art, Joan Miró: Painting and Anti-Painting, 1927-1937, November 2008-January 2009, pp. 148 and 235 (illustrated in color, p. 149, pl. 69).
Baden-Baden, Museum Frieder Burda, Miró: Les couleurs de la poésie, July-November 2010, p. 216, no. 69 (illustrated, p. 111).

Lot Essay

This untitled work, unknown for many years and only published for the first time in 2008 (op. cit.), belongs to the period in the early 1930s when Miró was moving beyond the dreams and whimsical fantasy that had characterized his Surrealist work and into a new area that favored direct expression in a new, rougher and vigorous form. Using the Surrealist technique of chance association and an almost sculptural form of assemblage of predominantly found objects and discarded raw material, Miró was attempting to avoid the mannered traps and habits of conventional painting in his work. Deliberately raw and crude and using unconventional means and materials he was at this time working in a way that almost blindly followed his intuition in the attempt of going beyond the boundaries of what was considered "art".

"I don't know where we are going" he said of himself and some of his fellow avant-garde artists in 1931, "my only certainty is that I want to destroy, destroy everything that exists in painting, I have the deepest scorn for painting; only the pure spirit interests me" (F. Melgar, 'Spanish Artists in Paris: Juan [sic] Miró' in Ahora, Madrid, 24 January 1931). Miró also claimed that he was deliberately trying to perform each creative task, "less well, to make the work harder for myself, to eschew good taste for I believe it is the only way not to follow in the way of the scum that came before us" (Letter to F. Rafois, 5 February 1931, cited in exh. cat., Miró 1917-34., Musée national d'art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 2004, p. 353).

A collage and collated assemblage of cut paper and drawing, Sans titre appears to be a work from the first part of 1934 when Miró's art was on the brink of a major transition. Following in the tradition of the sandpaper paintings that Miró made that year, the present work is a combination of the many techniques and media that he employed during this period in the attempt to "assassinate" painting and attain a new form of creativity. Both raw and whimsical, it employs collaged elements and cut-outs, photographs and relief items made from found objects as well as fluid figures drawn over card and sandpaper. All these elements combine to create a spectacular and surprisingly lyrical play of form in which the raw materiality of the media is allowed to assert itself and to retain its identity at the same time as it is demonstrably animated and metamorphosed by Miró's clearly magical imagination.

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