In late 1933 and early 1934 Mir's drawing, which had been deliberative and austere, suddenly became freer and more spontaneous. His painted compositions are characterized by a greater linearity; in them "Mir was carried away by sheer joy in drawing".
(J. Dupin, Joan Mir: Life and Work, New York, 1962, p. 256)
This freer approach owes much to contemporary developments in Surrealism, especially the increasing interest in automatist drawing. The looser, improvisatory nature of Mir's new linearity bears comparison with the strange creatures in Tanguy's pictures, and, to a lesser extent, with the sweeping and gestural line of Masson.
"During the winter and spring of 1934 Mir kept on experimenting, especially with drawing, carrying his researches even farther, but every bit as surely. He tried new mediums, such as sheets of black paper and sandpaper; he experimented with a powdered form of pastels; and he assayed new combinations, such as pastel with India ink, and collage with oil painting. His explorations of new materials were not so much that, as a kind of encouragement to them to show him their possibilities; he has always had the gift of making materials speak, and speak, moreover, a new though always natural language." (ibid.)
An interest in drawing normally leads to a greater emphasis on the figure, and as in the present work, figures become the center of attention. During the following year Mir entered his "monster" phase, in which his figures are characterized by increasing grotesquerie, as violence and a heightened sense of anxiety drive the narrative within his pictures (see lot 526).