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Joan Miró (1893-1983)
PROPERTY FROM A NOTABLE COLLECTOR
Joan Miró (1893-1983)

Tuilerie à Mont-roig

Details
Joan Miró (1893-1983)
Tuilerie à Mont-roig
signed and dated 'Miró. 1918.' (lower left)
oil on canvas
25 5/8 x 32 in. (65.1 x 81.2 cm.)
Painted in Mont-roig, 1918
Provenance
Galerie Pierre, Paris (acquired from the artist, by 1937).
Perls Galleries, New York (acquired from the above, by 1940).
Private collection, New York (by 1958).
Perls Galleries, New York.
Mr. and Mrs. James W. Alsdorf, Chicago (acquired from the above, 28 October 1958).
Richard Feigen Gallery, New York.
Mr. and Mrs. David Lloyd Kreeger, Washington, D.C. (acquired from the above, 19 October 1963).
Richard Feigen Gallery, New York (acquired from the above, 1981).
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 1981.
Literature
J.F. Ràfols, "Les arts plàstiques. Exposició d'art" in La Revista, vol. 5, no. 90, 16 June 1919, p. 177.
M. Raynal, Exposition de peintures et dessins de Joan Miró, exh. cat., Galerie La Licorne, Paris, 1921, p. 15, no. 19 or 20.
P. Eluard, "Naissances de Miró" in Cahiers d'Art, vol. 12, nos. 1-3, 1937, p. 81 (illustrated; titled Paysage).
C. Greenberg, Miró, New York, 1948, pp. 13 and 129 (illustrated, p. 49; illustrated again, pl. III; titled View of the Farm).
J.F. Ràfols, "Miró antes de 'La Masia' " in Anales y Boletín de los Museos de Arte de Barcelona, Barcelona, 1948, p. 500.
J. Dupin, Miró, Paris, 1961, p. 490, no. 62.
J. Lassaigne, Miró, Lusanne, 1963, pp. 27 and 136.
J. Dupin, Joan Miró: Life and Work, New York, 1962, p. 506, no. 62 (illustrated).
A.M. Fern, “Modern Masters in Washington: The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. David Lloyd Kreeger” in The Connoisseur Year Book 1966, London, 1966, p. 28.
J. Perucho, Joan Miró and Catalonia, New York, 1969, pp. 254–255.
H. Dorra, The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. David Lloyd Kreeger, Washington, D.C., 1970, pp. 16, 100–101 and 173 (illustrated, p. 101).
M. Chilo, Miró: L’artiste et l’oeuvre, Paris, 1971, p. 10.
M.P. Sharpe, ed., The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. David Lloyd Kreeger, Washington, D.C., 1976, pp. 136-137 and 302 (illustrated in color, p. 136).
R.M. Malet, Joan Miró, Barcelona, 1983, p. 9.
M. Rowell, ed., Joan Miró: Selected Writings and Interviews, Boston, 1986, p. 309, note 30.
R.S. Lubar, "Joan Miró Before ‘The Farm’, 1915–1922: Catalan nationalism and the avant-garde,” Ph.D. diss., New York University, October 1988, pp. viii, 129 and 312, fig. 62).
V. Combalía, El descubrimiento de Miró: Miró y sus críticos, 1918–1929, Barcelona, 1990, pp. 51 and 119.
Miró, Dalmau, Gasch: L’aventura per l’art modern, 1918–1937, exh. cat., Centre d’Art Santa Mònica, Barcelona, 1993, pp. 23–25.
J. Dupin, Miró, Paris, 1993, p. 64, no. 64 (illustrated).
A. Soberanas and F. Fontbona, eds., Joan Miró. Cartes a J.F. Ràfols (1917/1958), Barcelona, 1993, p. 21, note 3.
D. Giralt-Miracle, El crit de la terra: Joan Miró i el Camp de Tarragona, Barcelona, 1994, p. 90, no. 24 (illustrated).
J. Dupin and A. Lelong-Mainaud, Joan Miró, Catalogue raisonné: Paintings 1908-1930, Paris, 1999, vol. I, p. 58, no. 65 (illustrated in color).
C. Palermo, “Fixed Ecstasy: the Early Artistic Maturity of Joan Miró and Michel Leiris”, Ph.D. diss., Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, January 2000, p. V, no. 6.
A. De la Beaumelle, ed., Joan Miró, 1917–1934, La naissance du monde, exh. cat., Musée national d'art moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris, 2004, p. 304.
J. Dupin, Miró, Paris, 2004, p. 64, no. 64 (illustrated).
M.J. Balsach, Joan Miró. Cosmogonías de un mundo originario (1918–1939), Barcelona, 2007, p. 26 (illustrated, p. 25).
C. Palermo, Fixed Ecstasy: Joan Miró in the 1920s, State College, Pennsylvania, 2008, pp. 196 and 198.
J.M. Minguet, T. Montaner and J. Santanach, eds., Epistolari catalá: Joan Miró, 1911–1945, Barcelona, 2009, p. 99, note 8–9.
D. Ribot Martín, Enciclopedia Ilustrada de Miró, Madrid, 2010, p. 254 (illustrated, p. 42).
J. Dupin, Miró, Paris, 2012, p. 64, fig. 64 (illustrated).
Exhibited
Barcelona, Palau Municipal de Belles Arts, Exposició d'Art, May-June 1919, no. 386.
New York, Pierre Matisse Gallery, Joan Miró: Early Paintings from 1918 to 1925, March 1940, no. 2 (titled Vue de la ferme).
New York, The Museum of Modern Art and Los Angeles County Museum, Joan Miró, March-July 1959, nos. 10 and 9 respectively (illustrated; titled View of a Farm).
The Arts Club of Chicago, Joan Miró from Chicago Collections, February-March 1961, no. 5 (illustrated; titled View of a Farm).
London, The Tate Gallery and Kunsthaus Zürich, Joan Miró, August-December 1964, p. 19, no. 19.
Washington, D.C., The Corcoran Gallery of Art and The Baltimore Museum of Art, Paintings and Sculpture from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. David Lloyd Kreeger, February-May 1965, pp. 8 and 36, no. 14 (illustrated in color, p. 24; titled Paysage d'Espagne à la Ferme).
New York, Perls Galleries and E.V. Thaw & Co., Seven Decades, 1895-1965: Crosscurrents in Modern Art, April-May 1966, p. 75, no. 121 (illustrated; titled Spanish Landscape: The Farm).
New York, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Summer Loan Exhibition: Paintings, Drawings, and Sculptures from Private Collections, July-September 1966, no. 102; titled A Farm in Spain).
The Baltimore Museum of Art, From El Greco to Pollock: Early and Late Works by European and American Artists, October-December 1968, no. 128.
Munich, Haus der Kunst, Joan Miró, March-May 1969, no. 11 (illustrated, pl. 11).
Milan, Castello Sforzesco, Miró Milano: Pittura, Scultura, Ceramica, Disegni, Sobreteixims, Grafica, October-December 1981, p. 6 (illustrated in color).
New York, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Joan Miró: A Retrospective, May-August 1987, no. 10a.
Florence, Palazzo Strozzi, Picasso, Miró, Dalí. Giovani e arrabbiati: la nascita della modernità, March-July 2011, pp. 80-81, no. 2.7 (illustrated in color, p. 95; illustrated again, p. 200).

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Brooke Lampley
Brooke Lampley

Lot Essay

“As you see, I work very slowly,” Miró wrote from his family’s farm in Mont-roig to his friend J.F. Ràfols in Barcelona, 11 August 1918. “As I work on a canvas I fall in love with it, love that is born of slow understanding. Slow understanding of the nuances–concentrated–which the sun gives. Joy at learning to understand a tiny blade of grass in a landscape. Why belittle it?–a blade of grass is as enchanting as a tree or a mountain. Apart from the primitives and the Japanese, almost everyone overlooks this which is so divine. Everyone looks for and paints only the huge masses of trees, of mountains, without hearing the music of blades of grass and little flowers and without paying attention to the tiny pebbles of a ravine–enchanting” (quoted in M. Rowell, ed., Joan Miró: Selected Writings and Interviews, Boston, 1986, p. 57).
And in this spirit, Miró, then twenty-five years old, embarked on a marvelous foursome of paintings during the summer of 1918, including Tuilerie à Mont-roig, which depicts a tile maker’s shop near the artist’s home (the others are Dupin, nos. 62-64). In these paintings Miró sidestepped the prevailing modernist tendencies then in play–Fauvism, Cubism, Futurism and the varieties of early abstraction–such as he had endeavored to synthesize in his work until that time, the value of which he could only envision as a less than sincere means to an uncertain end. He had come to the conclusion, as he told Ràfols, “I do not believe in those who are trying to invent new schools–I detest all painters who want to theorize” (ibid.). A few days later Miró wrote to his friend E.C. Ricart, “No simplifications or abstractions, my friend. Right now what interests me most is the calligraphy of a tree or a rooftop, leaf by leaf, twig by twig, blade of grass by blade of grass, tile by tile” (quoted in ibid., p. 54).
These new paintings are “astonishing in their meticulousness and enchanted realism,” as Dupin declared. They “bear witness to a new passion in the presence of nature, an attentive respect, a Franciscan tenderness towards things and beings” (op. cit., 2012, p. 63). The rural iconography depicted in each canvas is absolutely clear, precise, painstakingly executed, and most magically imbued with a subtle poetry that arises from the particular beauty in each and every thing, regarded simply as it is, in which there is only the thing itself. In these momentous early achievements Miró confidently identified that alternative destination he had been seeking–he ended up finding it entirely within himself, a place he alone was privileged to reveal. Tuilerie à Mont-roig evokes the totality of a particular sense of this place, a world and its things as the artist had known them since childhood. There is nothing here that did not run deep in Miró’s blood, nor stem from the innermost consciousness through which he joyously engaged the world around him.
The cultural dimension of this phenomenon, Miró realized, is crucial to the artist. “Thus Miró rediscovered and established a Catalan identity based on his own experience,” Margit Rowell has written. “Seny i Rauxa–common sense and passion, pragmatism and exaltation are the character traits of the Catalan temperament. They are usually defined as a sense of the earth, of all grounded forces, combined with an exacerbated mysticism and an identification with an ineffable and incommensurable universe” (introduction to ibid., p. 4).
“I used to spend three months a year in my house in Mont-roig, you know,” Miró said, even after he later moved to Paris. “My parents would go away and I’d stay there alone with the animals: cats, dogs, barnyard fowl, immersed in the country atmosphere–so far removed from the bustle of the city. The only light I had was a kerosene lamp” (quoted in ibid., p. 290). The artist explained to Francesc Trabal during his first published interview in 1928, “I can assure you that I am happiest in Catalonia, in Mont-roig, which I feel is the most Catalan place of all. I think that the province of Tarragona is pure Catalonia” (quoted in ibid., p. 93).
The artist’s revelation of the personal significance these values brought to his life and art, as Jacques Dupin observed, led to “a profound change in his way of seeing and painting. That summer [of 1918], in Mont-roig, began a new period, which Ràfols quite correctly called ‘detaillist’ (detallista). Miró’s spontaneous lyricism, his fiery abandon with respect to the rhythmic and chromatic elements of execution, gives way most unexpectedly to a reflective, indeed carefully planned mode of expression based on meticulous description of the landscape and miniaturist treatment of details” (op. cit., 2012, p. 63).
“These four landscapes kept the artist busy the whole summer long, demanding of him, by his own admission, extreme mental concentration,” Dupin wrote. “They show no trace of effort, however, having acquired, in the course of their execution, airy elegance and graceful precision... He had contrived to emphasize details in such a way that the painting is merely the harmonious sum total of every particular element in the landscape, every jewel of nature, detached but inseparable from the whole... When we wander from detail to detail–and the artist compels us to do so–our eye is subjected to countless successive contrasts between pure tones, just as it encompasses the whole plastic harmony of the landscape only by way of a large number of particularized formal elements. Step by step the painting takes on unity, because the painter has first internalized it as a whole–that is, he has restored it to its poetic truth” (ibid., pp. 65-66).
Miró showed his four new landscapes at the Spring Salon of 1919 in Barcelona, together with works of other vanguard artists in the Agrupació Courbet, who had banded together the previous year to honor and emulate their namesake, the 19th century exemplar of realism in painting. The governor of Catalonia publicly belittled their efforts, which gave Miró further incentive to go to Paris and try to make his reputation there. But even after he settled into his Paris studio during 1921, his work owed virtually everything to Mont-roig. “I’m much happier going around dressed in a sweater and drinking wine from a ‘porró’ with the farmers of Mont-roig than I am wearing a dinner jacket in Paris,” he told Francesc Trabal. “All my work is conceived in Mont-roig. Everything I’ve ever done in Paris was conceived in Mont-roig without even a thought of Paris” (quoted in M. Rowell, op. cit., 1985, p. 93).
The culminating masterpiece of Miró’s magic realism is La Ferme, 1921-1922 (Dupin, no. 81), which Ernest Hemingway, who would occasionally box with the artist, acquired in 1925. “And again Mont-roig reached out to me with all its light, all its life, and I wanted to capture that whole period that I could see so clearly from Mont-roig and I painted The Farm,” the artist recounted to Trabal. “Nine months of constant hard work!... The Farm was a résumé of my entire life in the country. I wanted to put everything I loved about the country into that canvas–from a huge tree to a tiny little snail... I started getting rid of all those foreign influences and getting in touch with Catalonia” (quoted in ibid., p. 93).
In 1978 Miró told Lluis Permanyer, “I must confess that I never realized at the time that The Farm was the end of my realistic period and the beginning of a new period, because I had no idea of what I was going to do from then on” (quoted in ibid., p. 290). In this “new period,” Miró would transform the hard, clear exterior images of things he had rendered in his realist mode into an interior language of signs, either direct or ambiguous in their connotation, which would serve as portals to other realities, especially those that arose from the realm of dreams and the subconscious. The new place in which the artist would stage these visual events is no longer the familiar topography of Mont-roig, but now the indeterminate space of the flat, modernist picture plane. During this “mutation,” as Dupin described the process (op. cit., 2012, pp. 95ff), the magic of Miró’s realism became surrealism, and his work assumed the signature aspect for which he is best known today.
Joan Miró with the present lot at the Haus der Kunst, Munich, 1969.
[D72] Joan Miro, Autoportrait, 1919. Musée Picasso, Paris.
[D63] Joan Miró, L’Ornière, 1918. Private collection.
[D62] Joan Miró, Le portager à l’âne, 1918. Moderna Museet, Stockholm.
[D66] Joan Miró, Mont-roig, l’église et le village, 1919. Private collection.
[D69] Joan Miró, Mont-roig, vigne et oliviers par temps de pluie, 1919. Private collection.
[D81] Joan Miró, La Ferme, 1921-1922. Formerly in the Collection of Ernest Hemingway. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

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