JOAN MIRO (1893-1983)
JOAN MIRO (1893-1983)
JOAN MIRO (1893-1983)
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JOAN MIRO (1893-1983)
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On occasion, Christie's has a direct financial int… Read more Visionary: The Paul G. Allen Collection
JOAN MIRO (1893-1983)


JOAN MIRO (1893-1983)
signed and numbered 'Miró 4/6' (on the left leg); inscribed with foundry mark 'FONDERIA BONVICINI VERONA ITALIA' (on the right leg)
bronze with dark brown patina
Height: 78 3/4 in. (200 cm.)
Conceived in 1981 and cast in 1986
Galerie Maeght-Lelong, Paris.
Danese Gallery, New York.
Acquired by the late owner, 1999.
D. Lelong, Joan Miró: Sculptures, catalogue raisonné, 1928-1982, Paris, 2006, p. 360, no. 391 (another cast illustrated in color).
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Max Carter Vice Chairman, 20th and 21st Century Art, Americas

Lot Essay

Towards the end of his career, the distinctive figures of women and birds manifested themselves in the art of Joan Miró in a new way. These quintessential motifs appeared in three dimensions, taking the form of monumental bronze sculptures. This group of figures are often regarded as the crowning works of Miró’s career, as he created icons of femininity and the natural world with his abstract, fantastical language of form. With works such as Oiseau—other casts of which are housed in The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston and the Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts, Stanford—Miró attained an artistic freedom akin to that which he had channelled into his two-dimensional production, giving form to his world of floating, imagined signs and shapes, and in so doing, creating an entirely novel form of sculpture. As Jacques Dupin wrote, “Miró’s approach and conception of sculpture offered him an immediate contact with a reality that, in painting, was attainable through the screen of an elaborately constructed language” (Miró, Barcelona, 2004, pp. 361 and 367).
The bird is one of the most frequent motifs of Miró’s oeuvre. He regarded these animals as the connection between the earthly and cosmic realms, their capacity for flight the embodiment of the artist’s liberated, poetic visual imagination. While the scale and monumentality of the present work seems at odds with the gravity-defying nature of bird in flight, here this abstracted, anthropomorphic figure is endowed with a magnificence and timelessness, as if from a primeval era.
Miró first considered creating large, free-standing sculptures in the early 1940s. In a notebook from this time, he wrote, “…it is in sculpture that I will create a truly phantasmagoric world of living monsters; what I do in painting is more conventional.” He also described his desire to build himself a “big studio, full of sculptures that give you a tremendous feeling of entering a new world… unlike the paintings that are turned facing the wall or images done on a flat surface, the sculptures must resemble living monsters who live in the studio—a world apart” (quoted in M. Rowell, ed., Joan Miró: Selected Writings and Interviews, Boston, 1986, p. 175).
It was not until the 1950s that Miró finally attained this long-desired, expansively-sized studio. He found he had space and light, and, with its large windows, he drew endless inspiration from the outside world.
Not long after moving into his new studio, Miró was commissioned by Aimé Maeght to create sculpture for his foundation in the south of France. As a result, he began to work in bronze, and by the late 1960s, sculpture had come to dominate his artistic production. These three-dimensional works were comprised of two distinct types: those he initially modeled in clay, and others assembled from found objects, or “raw materials” as the artist called them. The former are, like the present work, usually smooth and exaggeratedly volumetric, their monumental forms and overt plenitude and wholeness projecting an iconic presence in the spaces in which they preside.

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