Vipère exaspérée devant l'oiseau rouge ('The Exasperated Viper in front of the Red Bird') is one of relatively few paintings that Miró executed while his elaborate new studio was being built on the island of Mallorca. One of a number of experimental oil paintings executed on unorthodox supports such as masonite and - as in this case - cardboard, Vipère exaspérée devant l'oiseau rouge is an extremely elegant and spontaneously created work that explores the precarious balance between chaos and order.
During the late 1940s and early 1950's Miró's use of evocative poetic titles for his work became more pronounced. Miró hoped that such titles would encourage the viewer to read his pictorial motifs as being themselves allusive poetic images. In Vipère exaspérée devant l'oiseau rouge the figures of the "exasperated" snake and the bird are both clearly recogniseable but their forms have been reduced to a cipher-like collection of lines that conveys only the essence of each creature. These incredibly fluid and graceful lines have been drawn swiftly and spontaneously and in this way capture a fluid sense of motion that animates the figures and infuses the surface of the picture with life.
Painted over a chaotic and enigmatic ground of smeared paint, that has been applied unevenly to the rough surface of the cardboard, Miró's smooth calligraphic lines create a constellation of form and a lyrical pattern of order. So as not to make the elegance of these lines detract from the whole, Miró has affixed a few rough-shaped and brightly coloured stones to the shimmering surface of the work at key points of the composition. These stones act as a counterpoint to the fluid two dimensional grace of the flat hieroglyphic lines and unite the separate layers of the work into a seemingly mystical and cohesive whole.