The present work was acquired directly from the artist by the famous Galería Joan Prats in Barcelona, just one month after its opening on 26 March 1976. Prior to becoming a gallery, the space was occupied by the old hat shop of Joan Prats, a close friend of Miró who, as a great lover of the avant-garde, became an expert on his work. When the hat shop was transformed to gallery space in 1976, the decision was taken to honour Prats by establishing the gallery in his name, and so it was the ‘Galería Joan Prats’. Characteristic of his style during this later period, and working with found objects, Miró was intrigued by the formal capabilities of Prat’s hat boxes and so he gifted him three. The result was three unique works executed that same year, the present lot only a month after the opening of the gallery, who, after acquiring it directly from Miró, have cherished it in their personal collection ever since. The remaining two, arguably less complex and dynamic examples, reside in the collection of the Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona.
Miro’s unorthodox choice and manipulation of support in Peinture, coupled with the bold expressive nature of its execution, is a prime example of his work from the 1960s and 70s. During this era opportunities taken for international travel contributed significantly to the renewed intensity and innovative freedom that Miró brought to his work during his final decades. The artist made his second trip to the United States in 1959 to attend the opening of his retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art, New York. He renewed contacts with artists that he met on his first stay in America in 1947, and now admired the great flowering and triumphant success of Abstract Expressionism. This encounter came at a crucial juncture in Miró's career. To Jacques Dupin, Miró stated, "It showed me the liberties we can take, and how far we can go, beyond the limits. In a sense, it freed me" (quoted in Miró, Paris, 2012, p. 303). "When I saw those paintings, I said to myself, 'You can do it, too; go to it, you see, it is O.K.!'" (interview with M. Rowell, ed., op. cit., p. 279). In Peinture, we see exactly this, Miró celebrating this acute sense of expressive innovation as he transforms a seemingly functional object such as a hatbox into a large-scale work of art.