'I began working again. Starting from real life, I managed to lose contact with reality […]. I was getting rid of any sort of pictorial influence and any contact with realism and I was painting with an absolute contempt for painting. I was painting from necessity and to do something more than just simply paint.' (Miró in F. Trabal, “A conversation with Miró”, 14 July 1928, in M. Rowell, ed., Joan Miró, Selected Writings and Interviews, London, 1987, pp. 94-95).
Miró executed Untitled in March 1928, shortly after his return to Paris from Montroig, a powerful source of inspiration, where he spent most of his summers. In a letter to his dealer and friend Pierre Loeb dated 7 November 1927, Miró writes: “Very confidentially, I have to tell you that I look at real things with increasing love [..] in fact, I caress anything, it doesn’t matter what, with my eyes.” (A. Umland, Joan Miró, Painting and Anti-painting, 1927-1937, New York, 2008). It’s around this same period that Miró completed the four notorious collage-objects, collectively referred to as Spanish Dancers (Dupin nos. 243-246). These well-celebrated, radically simplified compositions are made up of a diverse range of elements: sandpaper, nails, plaster, a plumb line, a cork, a piece of thread, attached to a sheet of flocked paper.
Sans titre belongs to a small series of seven large drawings, executed shortly after, on the same, textured support (Dupin & Lelong-Mainaud nos. 249-255): large sheets of paper, coated with an adhesive and then, in Miró's case, dusted with a fine particulate or fibrous material. The flocked papers Miró used are most commonly referred to as 'pastel papers' in the art literature. These sheets were usually employed for pastel work, since their abrasive surface would hold the pigment's particles, as is the case for the present work; the result is a thick, earthy surface.
The beautifully raw execution of the seven works in this series strongly relates to the theme of the Spanish Dancer, also from 1928 (Dupin no. 243), which has been described by the Surrealist poet Paul Éluard as the “barest picture imaginable” (P. Éluard, “Naissance de Miró”, in Cahiers d’art, Paris, 1937, p. 80). In Sans titre, the exquisitely simplified composition takes shape from strong, yet elegant lines that appear to be suspended in empty space, as if floating in front of the background. The result is a wonderful, spontaneous composition of vaguely biomorphic forms, which seem to be inspired by images from the artist’s unconscious.
For Miró, the conflict between an impulsive stream of consciousness and the careful deliberations of the intellectual mind was always fertile ground and had driven his work into great forms of exploration in a number of media.
Michel Leiris suggests that Miró connected with painting as a means to reach a spiritual understanding of the deepest human emotions of religious devotion and erotic love, and found ways to show these feelings with hieratic symbols and minimal means. Leiris described in his book on Miró the process of Tibetan meditation in which one possesses an image in one’s imagination and progressively subtracts the elements until only the void remains to contemplate, "Multiple imaginative reconstructions of the image first contemplated are then built up until there is a reconfiguration in symbolic form of the imaginative world, the absolute, otherwise more ungraspable than a tiny vein of metal in the interstices of an imaginary stone” (quoted in J. Dupin, Miró, New York, 1994, p. 124).