Spanish-born Joan Miró first visited Paris in 1919: a journey that infused the young artist with enthusiasm for the work of the avant-gardists. It was in Paris that he established a close friendship with Pablo Picasso. Influenced by Cubism and, perhaps most influentially, the Surrealists, Miro's work was nevertheless independent of any group or ideology.
Iconographically, Miró's work referred to similar motifs throughout his long career, but works from his later period, including Personnage, were characterised by a new care in his choice of materials, and the gestural aspects of his style.
Miró always preferred to begin with something tangible: an address label, a menu, a program from the Nobel Prize ceremony. In Personnage, a set of plans caught the artist's eye. Using the plan drawers as the torso, with characteristic ingenuity and a strong aesthetic sense, Miró incorporated some of his favoured themes: the nationalistic beret of the Catalan, the male genitalia, a firmly planted foot.
For Miró, place and identity were crucial to achieving a higher creativity: resulting in a universally recognisable truth and expressiveness that continues to mark the artist's work as some of the greatest of the twentieth century.