ADOM (Association pour la défense de l'oeuvre de Joan Miró) has confirmed the authenticity of this work.
The German invasion of France in May 1940 caught Miró, his wife Pilar and daughter Dolores in the English Channel port of Varengeville, where since the beginning of the year, the artist had been working on the Constellations (Dupin, nos. 628-650). Miró and his family departed for Paris as nearby towns were bombed and advancing German armored columns cut off the retreating Allied forces at Dunkirk. They then fled south, joining the hordes of refugees who clogged the roads, fearful of being strafed and bombed from the sky. As a plan to obtain passage to America came to nothing, Miró and his family made their way to Perpignan, near the Spanish border, where they weighed their limited options.
Pilar's parents made their home in Palma on the Spanish island of Mallorca. Miró decided that this relatively isolated place would be the safest destination for them at the moment, and he took his family there in July 1940. Miró's worst fears went unrealized, and quietly he began to get down to work. On 4 September he painted the first Constellation done in Palma, that is, on Spanish soil (Dupin, no. 638), an auspicious moment. Another three followed by the end of the year, and in the first six months of 1941 he painted a half-dozen more (Dupin, nos. 639- 647). Paul Hammond has written, "However straitened his circumstances, Mallorca offered Miró relative peace and quiet, a roof over his head, blue sky and bluer sea; and it evoked memories of childhood vacations" (in Constellations of Miró, Breton, San Francisco, 2000, p. 47). When finally it seemed reasonably safe, Miró traveled to the mainland and visited Barcelona and Montroig during the summer of 1941, the first time he had been home since the outbreak of the civil war five years earlier. In Montroig he completed the final three Constellations (Dupin, nos. 648-650).
Miró returned to Palma in mid-November and within a few weeks he commenced a new group of works on paper. Miró wrote to his friend E.C. Ricart on 15 February 1942: "I considered it convenient for me to spend some time here in Palma I spend almost all of my time working I see almost no one, and in this way escape without being engulfed by the terrible tragedy of the entire world" (quoted in C. Lanchner, Miró, exh. cat., The Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1993, p. 336). He did not paint in oil on canvas, and would not do so with any regularity until 1944. Miró found that working on paper best suited his nomadic and "furtive" existence, and besides, canvas was hard to come by and expensive to purchase. Moreover, the visionary Constellations had provided Miró with a vast reservoir of visual imagery, and they had opened up to him a wide range of techniques that he needed to mull over and carry forward, without mechanically repeating the actual look of this soon-to-become-celebrated series, which were first exhibited in New York in 1945, a few months before the end of the war in Europe. Jacques Dupin has described this burst of renewed activity: "In 1942 [the Constellations] were followed by a large number of watercolors, gouaches and drawings, characterized by freedom of invention and a marvelous effortlessness. In this evolution of his art, which was to end in the creation of his definitive style, renewed contact with Spain after five years of absence, with Majorca most especially, was doubtless crucial. They are explorations undertaken with no preconceived idea, effervescent creations in which the artist perfected a vast repertory of forms, signs, and formulas, bringing into play all the materials and instruments compatible with paper. The object of all these explorations is to determine the relationship between drawing and the materials, the relationship between line and space" (Miró, Paris, 2004, pp. 257-260).
The imagery seen in the present work is classic Miró: Woman, Bird and Star. Sidra Stich has pointed out that "Miró extricated woman, bird, sun, moon, and star from the complex webbing of the 'Constellations' and isolated them as forceful, independent images" (Joan Miró, The Development of a Sign Language, exh. cat., Washington University Gallery of Art, St. Louis, 1980, p. 49). Dupin noted that "The variations on this extremely simple theme are all the richer, more complex and baffling, because the theme is so elementary" (op. cit., p. 261).