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Joan Miró (1893-1983)
Artist's Resale Right ("Droit de Suite"). Artist's… Read more
Joan Miró (1893-1983)


Joan Miró (1893-1983)
signed 'Miró' (lower right); signed again, dated and dedicated 'à Georges Bataille, de tout cœur Miró 1960' (on the reverse)
watercolour and pen and India ink on paper
24 1/4 x 34 3/8 in. (61.6 x 87 cm.)
Executed in 1960
Georges Bataille, Paris, a gift from the artist.
Artcurial, Paris.
Private collection, Switzerland, by 1989.
J. Dupin & A. Lelong-Mainaud, Joan Miró, Catalogue raisonné. Drawings, vol. III, 1960-1972, Paris, 2012, no. 1628, p. 27 (illustrated).
Belfast, The Ulster Museum, Major Impressionist and Modern Paintings, 1984 (no. 25; titled 'Composition').
Paris, Artcurial, Centre d'art plastique contemporain, Les Noces Catalanes, May - July 1985, no. 105, p. 108 (illustrated p. 75; titled 'Composition').
Sète, Musée Paul Valéry, Miró, Vers l'infiniment libre, vers l'infiniment grand, June – November 2014, no. 31, p. 144 (illustrated p. 145).
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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.
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Jessica Brook
Jessica Brook

Lot Essay

Miró's friendship with Georges Bataille, an influential French intellectual and poet of the 20th Century, and former owner of the present lot, dates back to the late 1920s and was celebrated by the artist in the painting-poem Music, Michel, Bataille et Moi that he executed in 1927 (J. Dupin & A. Lelong-Mainaud, 1999, no. 260). But the 1927 masterpiece, today in the collection of the Winterthur Kunstmuseum, and the few works Bataille owned as a collector are not the only overlaps between the art of the Catalan artist and the writings of the French philosopher. Instead, one can identify numerous corresponding themes and imagery: not only does Bataillean thought represent a direct source of influence on Miró’s work, but also, the artist deliberately turns to this more violent, un-idealised aesthetic in order to visually confront his own professional crisis, the rise of fascism in his homeland, and the Spanish Civil War and start of the Second World War.

Some argue that the influence of Bataille’s parody, eroticism, and violence provided Miró with the tools to personally respond to the Civil War. These three elements are in fact very frequent in the artist’s œuvre, not only in the late 1930s, but also in the following decades, including the moment when Untitled was executed. Powerful and vibrant, the present lot encapsulates many of the recurrent symbols of Miró’s iconography. Fantastic figures and animals intersect with ladders and abstract lines, all sprouting from a rich, colourful background of child-like dripping, reminiscent of the American Abstract Expressionists, whom Miró himself would influence deeply.

1960 was a particularly fruitful year, during which the artist completed more than a hundred paintings and a large number of gouaches and watercolours, including the present lot. Perhaps one of the reasons of this abundance is that Miró had recently moved back to Palma, and particularly to his new, big studio of which he had so long dreamed, designed by his architect and friend José Luis Sert, and perfectly harmonizing with the landscape of the beach of Calamayor. It took him some time to domesticate it, and animate it, but by the time Untitled was completed he had certainly begun to ‘feel at home’ and find himself ‘surrounded by a company of fantastic, poetic or burlesque figures’ (see: J. Dupin, Miró, Life and Work, London, 1962, pp. 478-479), some of which seem to populate this work too.

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