JOAN MIRÓ (1893-1983)
JOAN MIRÓ (1893-1983)
JOAN MIRÓ (1893-1983)
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JOAN MIRÓ (1893-1983)
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JOAN MIRÓ (1893-1983)


JOAN MIRÓ (1893-1983)
signed 'Miró' (lower right)
bronze with green and gray patina
Height: 23 1/4 in. (58.8 cm.)
Length: 32 3/4 in. (83.4 cm.)
Conceived in 1971; unique
Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York (acquired from the artist).
Anon. (acquired from the above); sale, Christie's, New York, 10 May 2007, lot 370.
Acquired at the above sale by the late owners.
A. Jouffroy and J. Teixidor, Miró, Sculptures, Paris, 1973, p. 205, no. 201 (illustrated, p. 166).
E.F. Miró and P.O. Chapel, Joan Miró, Sculptures, Catalogue Raisonné, 1928-1982, Paris, 2006, p. 249, no. 262 (illustrated in color).
Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía; Barcelona, Fundació Joan Miró and Cologne, Museum Ludwig, Miró, Escultor, October 1986-June 1987, p. 71, no. 26 (illustrated).

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Lot Essay

Miró linked his own growing delight in working in three dimensions to his earliest training as an artist. As a young man, his tutor Francesc Galí encouraged him to draw objects from touch rather than sight. In 1970, talking to Dean Swanson, the artist described this process: "Galí was a remarkable teacher, and he gave me an exercise so that I would learn to 'see' form: he blindfolded me, and placed objects in my hands, then he asked me to draw the objects without having seen them" (quoted in D. Swanson, "The Artist's Comments," Miró's Sculptures, exh. cat., Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, 1971, n.p.). This formative experience offered Miró entirely new ways of seeing, feeling, and inventing form and ultimately fuelled his attraction to sculpture in his later years: “the effect of this touch-drawing returns in my interest in sculpture: the need to mould with my hands–to pick up a ball of wet clay like a child and squeeze it. From this I get a physical sensation that I cannot get from drawing or painting" (quoted in J.J. Sweeney, "Joan Miró, Comment and Interview," Partisan Review, February 1948, p. 67).
Miró's sculptures were the crowning achievement of his late career. Although he had created surrealist painting-objects during the late 1920s and 1930s, it was not until a decade later, while he was living in Palma, Montroig and Barcelona during the Second World War, that he considered making large free-standing forms. He wrote in his Working Notes, 1941-1942, jotted down in Montroig: “ is in sculpture that I will create a truly phantasmagoric world of living monsters; what I do in painting is more conventional” (quoted in M. Rowell, ed., Joan Miró, Selected Writings and Interviews, Boston, 1986, p. 175).
The present Bas-relief is a unique bronze which Miró conceived in 1971 and is one of several unique bronze reliefs created that year. The bas-reliefs occupy a vital place within the artist’s oeuvre as they provided the perfect opportunity for Miró to explore a three-dimensional medium within a two-dimensional plane. The finished biomorphic creation oscillates between two- and three-dimensions, assuming characteristics from both painting and sculpture. Miró's close friend and biographer Jacques Dupin has written: "The sculptures from the last two decades of Miró's productive life took on a broad place and force. For Miró, sculpture became an intrinsic adventure, an important means of expression that competed with the canvas and sheet of paper—the domains and artistic spaces proper to Miró—without ever simply being a mere derivative or deviation from painting" (Miró, Barcelona, 2004, pp. 361 and 367).

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