Joan Miró (1893-1983)
Property from a Private Texas Collection
Joan Miró (1893-1983)


Joan Miró (1893-1983)
signed, numbered and inscribed with foundry mark 'Miró 1/2 Parellada' (on the back)
Height: 23 5/8 in. (60 cm.)
Conceived in 1970
Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York.
Acquired from the above by the family of the present owners, June 1983.
J. Dupin, Miró escultor, Barcelona, 1972 (another cast illustrated, pls. 116 and 118; another cast illustrated in the artist's studio, pl. 96; dated 1971).
A. Jouffroy and J. Teixidor, Miró Sculptures, Paris, 1980, p. 204, no. 185 (another cast illustrated, p. 129; dated 1971 and catalogued as unique).
Fundació Joan Miró, Obra de Joan Miró, Barcelona, 1988, p. 435, no. 1595 (another cast illustrated).
E. Fernández-Miró and P. Ortega Chapel, Joan Miró, Sculptures, Catalogue raisonné, 1928-1982, Paris, 2006, p. 211, no. 212 (another cast illustrated in color).
New York, Pierre Matisse Gallery, Joan Miró, 90 Years, May-June 1983, no. 13.

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Vanessa Fusco
Vanessa Fusco

Lot Essay

ADOM (Association pour la défense de l'oeuvre de Joan Miró) has confirmed the authenticity of this work.
Conceived in 1970 and cast in an edition of four, Femme appears as an outrageous and whimsical Neolithic fertility goddess, with her exaggerated pointy breasts, protruding buttocks and tear-shaped lower section that is a typically Miróesque emblem of her sex. The placement of the breasts and vaginal crevice can also be read as an enlarged human face; a duality that seems to illustrate Miró's metamorphic understanding of what he termed humankind's "true reality," where "forms give birth to other forms, constantly changing into something else. They become each other and in this way create the reality of a universe of signs and symbols in which figures pass from one realm to another, their feet touching the roots, becoming roots themselves as they disappear into the flowing hair of the constellations" (J. Miró, "Statement," in XXe siècle, June 1957, reproduced in M. Rowell, ed., Joan Miró, Selected Writings and Interviews, London, 1987, p. 240).
Throughout his artistic career, Miró fixated on the idea of woman as the ultimate generative symbol, connecting her with the fecundity of the earth, with creativity, and the artist's own flights of imagination. This persistent, reoccurring image can be traced back to his Surrealist masterpieces of the 1920s such as Maternité (Dupin, no. 99; fig. 1) in which a large female figure is rendered by entirely abstract means, stripped back to her basic procreative functions as she nurses two tiny insect-like infants at her breasts. The nurturing, procreative female closely correlates with Miró's organic and vitalist vision and his deep connection to the Catalonian countryside. Indeed, he saw much of his sculpture as bound up in nature, while the bronzes he cast from figures modelled in clay were indebted to the folk ceramics of Mallorca and Catalonia. Like much of the artist's work, Femme departs from representation and reality in an attempt to stimulate the imagination. From raw and found materials Miró has conjured a new poetry and meaning that evoke unconscious primordial forms and ancient long-forgotten myths.
In 1972, David Sylvester observed that Miró was a self-made sculptor, not a born one, having developed his talent for three-dimensional form whilst in his fifties. It was perhaps for this reason, Sylvester explained, that Miró had a "tendency to put more trust in the given shapes of found objects than in his power to invent forms in the round" (D. Sylvester, Miró Bronzes, exh. cat., Hayward Gallery, London, 1972, p. 15). Two years later, the artist later stated in an interview with a French newspaper, "To paint, to sculpt, to etch, is maybe to give form to a myth, to produce a new reality from a given material, from a physical thrust that forces a gesture to be carried and placed in the world. The real suddenly appears from this struggle. Nothing is foreign to painting, to etching, to sculpture: one can work with anything—everything can be useful. If I frequently integrate the objects as they are, with raw materials, it is not to obtain a plastic effect but by necessity. It is in order to produce the shock of one reality against another…I need to walk on my earth, to live among my own, because everything that is popular is necessary for my work" (quoted in R.-J. Moulin, L’Humanité, 25 May 1974).

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