JOAN MIRÓ (1893-1983)
JOAN MIRÓ (1893-1983)
JOAN MIRÓ (1893-1983)
JOAN MIRÓ (1893-1983)
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Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more PROPERTY FROM A PRIVATE NEW YORK COLLECTION
JOAN MIRÓ (1893-1983)

Le Regard fixe vers l’horizon déchiré par les cris d’aigle (The Gaze Fixed on an Horizon Split Open by the Eagle’s Cries)

JOAN MIRÓ (1893-1983)
Le Regard fixe vers l’horizon déchiré par les cris d’aigle
(The Gaze Fixed on an Horizon Split Open by the Eagle’s Cries)
signed ‘Miró’ (lower left); signed again, inscribed and dated ‘Miró 1953 LE REGARD FIXE VERS L’HORIZON DECHIRÉ PAR LES CRIS DE L’AIGLE‘ (on the reverse)
oil and India ink on board
15 x 18 1/8 in. (38 x 46 cm.)
Executed in 1953
Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York.
Perls Galleries, New York, by 1961.
Mary & Leigh B. Block, Chicago.
The Art Institute of Chicago, gifted by the above on 11 April 1988 and deaccessioned on 14 March 1994 in exchange for another work from the Block estate.
Private collection, New York, by whom acquired from the above.
J. Dupin, Miró, Paris, 1961, no. 843, p. 548 (illustrated).
J. Dupin & A. Lelong-Mainaud, Joan Miró, Catalogue Raisonné, Paintings, vol. III, 1942-1955, Paris, 2001, no. 959, p. 226 (illustrated).
Special notice
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's Resale Right Regulations 2006 apply to this lot, the buyer agrees to pay us an amount equal to the resale royalty provided for in those Regulations, and we undertake to the buyer to pay such amount to the artist's collection agent. This lot has been imported from outside of the UK for sale and placed under the Temporary Admission regime. Import VAT is payable at 5% on the hammer price. VAT at 20% will be added to the buyer’s premium but will not be shown separately on our invoice.

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Claudia Schürch
Claudia Schürch Senior Specialist, Head of Evening Sale

Lot Essay

Towards the end of the 1940s, Joan Miró began once again to add evocative, poetic titles to his works, returning to a practice he had explored sporadically across his oeuvre for almost two decades. Ascribing powerfully suggestive phrases to his paintings, Miró expanded the narrative potential of his cipher-like imagery, conjuring complex new realities and imbuing his characters with an allusive, poetic magic, evident in the title of the present work, Le regard fixe vers l’horizon déchire par les cris d’aigle (The Gaze Fixed on an Horizon Split Open by the Eagle’s Cries). As he explained in a 1959 interview with Yvon Tallandier, these titles transformed Miró’s own experience of the act of painting: ‘When I give it a title, it becomes even more alive. I find my titles in the process of working, as one thing leads to another on my canvas. When I have found the title, I live in its atmosphere. The title then becomes completely real for me, in the same way that a model, a reclining woman, for example, can become real for another painter. For me, the title is a very precise reality’ (Miró, quoted in M. Rowell, ed., Joan Miró: Selected Writings and Interviews, Boston, 1986, p. 249).
In Le regard fixe vers l’horizon déchire par les cris d’aigle, the title lends the amorphous imagery a vivid, mysterious atmosphere, drawing our focus to the wide-eyed gaze of the figure in the foreground, its body formed of an ornamental, chequer-board of bright colours, while the elongated form of a bird soars overhead. In its combination of fluid, emphatic lines and vivid primary colours, the painting showcases the inventive, graphic quality of the artist’s pictorial language through the early 1950s, using a mixture of oil paint and India ink to conjure these flowing, biomorphic characters and creatures. However, Miró did not necessarily intend that his titles should be specifically descriptive, but rather that they stand on their own as a poetic analogue, serving as a point of departure from which the viewer may muse upon the configuration of signs before them, and the ambiguities therein.
Le regard fixe vers l’horizon déchire par les cris d’aigle holds an illustrious provenance, having formerly formed part of the expansive art collections of Mary and Leigh B. Block. At the time of their marriage in 1942, Mary Block was vice president of the acclaimed advertising company Lord & Thomas, while Leigh B. Block was the vice president of Inland Steel Company, Chicago, for whom he had worked since 1924. Shortly after their wedding, the couple purchased a still life by Georges Braque, swiftly followed by Self-portrait with Bandaged Ear by Vincent van Gogh, marking the beginning of a collecting journey that would see them acquire iconic works by artists including Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, Paul Gauguin, Paul Cezanne, Pierre Bonnard, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. As they built their collection, Mary and Leigh made a pact that they would not purchase a work unless both agreed on its artistic worth, a decision that would ensure their collecting endeavours were a partnership, driven by their mutual respect for one another’s opinion. Their expansive collection soon filled every aspect of their living space, ranging from eighteenth- to twentieth-century art, as well as ancient Chinese and Pre-Columbian ceramics and decorative objects, with artworks lining the walls and filling every surface of their home and offices.
Lifelong residents of Chicago, the Blocks became important patrons of the city’s art institutions –Leigh served on the board of trustees of the Art Institute of Chicago, and was the museum’s president from 1970–72, as well as its chairman from 1972 to 1975, while Mary was integral to the formation of the Women’s Board at the institution. During these years, the couple played a significant role in the museum’s expansion, donating several important artworks to the collection and contributing funds towards a number of development projects, leading James N. Wood, director of the Art Institute in the late 1980s, to name them among the most important benefactors in the history of the museum. Le regard fixe vers l’horizon déchire par les cris d’aigle was one such work gifted by the Blocks to the Art Institute in 1988. It was later deaccessioned by the museum and exchanged for another work from the Block estate.

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