Miró met Paul Eluard, the Surrealist poet, in 1924. At first the poet was not impressed by the painter's work. As Miró later recalled,
Breton and Eluard rarely came down from their hill, Montmartre, and when they did it was only to see our paintings. My Farm and my still lifes never interested them. They didn't notice I existed
until my style of painting freed up, became more poetic and dreamy, as in The Tilled Field, Carnival of Harlequin and the rest. (quoted in exh. cat., Joan Miró: A Retrospective, Solomon R.
Guggenheim Museum, New York, 1987, p. 30)
Soon, however, Miró became good friends with Paul Eluard and his wife Nusch, and they remained close for the rest of their lives. Miró and Eluard collaborated frequently after that: in June 1925, for example, Eluard and other members of the Surrealist group signed the invitation to Miró's first one-man show; and in 1958, Miró illustrated Eluard's A toute épreuve with eighty prints.
The present work clearly demonstrates the impact which Miró's association with the Surrealist group had upon his art; not only its title but also its use of biomorphic forms and objets trouvés reveal the influence of Surrealism. André Breton praised the spontaneity of Miró's works from the 1920's and 1930's, likening them to the automatic writings of the Surrealists:
Joan Miró cherishes perhaps one single desire--to give himself up utterly to painting...to that pure automatism which for my part I have never ceased to invoke, but whose profound value and significance Miró unaided has, I suspect, verified in very summary fashion. (quoted in D. Ades, Dada and Surrealism Reviewed, London, 1978, p. 218)
In 1933, Miró published an artist's statement in Minotaure, a proto-Surrealist journal which received editorial direction from Breton and Eluard, in which he reiterated the importance to his art of that period of the Surrealist concept of automatism:
It is difficult for me to talk about my painting, since it is always born in a state of hallucination, brought on by some jolt or other-- whether objective or subjective--which I am not in the least
responsible for. As for my means of expression, I struggle more and more to achieve a maximum clarity, force and plastic aggressiveness --in other words, to provoke an immediate physical sensation that
will make its way to the soul. (quoted in M. Rowell, Joan
Miró, Selected Writings and Interviews, Boston, 1986, p. 122)