Viewing Room

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Untitled (Personnage / Femme en revolte)

63.7 x 49 cm (25 ¹/₈ x 19 ¹/₄ inches)
Gouache, Pastel and Charcoal on Paper
Signed Miro lower center

Galerie Jean Bucher, Paris
Madame Vulliany, Paris by descent 
Sotheby’s London, Impressionist and Modern Evening Sale, 8 February 2012, lot 9
Private collection, New York

- Jacques Dupin & Ariane Lelong-Mainaud, Joan Miro, Catalogue Raisonne. Drawings, Paris, 2010, Vol. II,no. 856, illustrated p. 39.

- Di Donna Gallery, New York, Moon Dancers: Yip'ik Masks and the Surrealists, April 27 - June 29, 2018, repr. In color p.153, no. 85.
-Galeries Nationales du Grand Palais, Paris, Joan Miro, La Couleur de mes Reves, October 3, 2018 - February 4, 2019, repr. in color p. 138, no. 70

Miró was an artist whose aesthetic roots lay in his native Catalonia. After his formational studies at the fine arts school in Barcelona and the exhibition of his first canvases in 1918, he left Spain to resettle in Paris. Beginning in 1920, he formed close ties with Pablo Picasso, André Masson (who introduced him to the works of Paul Klee), and the members of the Dada movement. He then became engaged with the Surrealist movement, which appealed to his interest in the oneiric, signing the Manifesto in 1924. During the summer of 1925, at Mont-roig, he began his large series of "peintures de rêve,"(“dream paintings”)as Jacques Dupin called them.

The 1930’s were marked by his increasing distance from the Surrealists and his declaration that he wanted to "assassinate painting" by renouncing tradition and living in complete liberty. In consequence, he turned to new materials, such as collage (including those that he did for the exhibition "Collages" that André Breton organized at the Goemans gallery in Paris) and his series of "painting-objects," composed of found objects, metallic pieces, and bits of wood. However, in 1932, faced with financial difficulties, he was forced to leave his studio in Paris and return to Barcelona in his family home in the Passatge del Crèdit. There, he prepared his first solo show for Pierre Matisse in New York, who presented him to the American public as an avant-garde artist. Then, at the family farm in Mont-roig, near Barcelona, he created a series of "drawing-collages," which first the Georges Bernheim gallery in Paris and then the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York showed with great success in the fall of 1933. The year 1934 for Miro was synonymous with resounding success; he participated in numerous exhibitions in Europe and in the United States, including a very large show at the Kunsthaus in Zurich alongside Max Ernst.

In 1936, a right wing coup against the government of the second Spanish Republic unleashed a brutal civil war that weighted heavily upon the artist. Painted shortly thereafter, the present work uses an electrified palette and potent imagery that are resonant of this significant period for the artist. In 1937, Miro provided an explicit reaction to Franco’s rise to power in his large scale work, Le Faucheur.

This mural, now lost, dominated the Spanish Pavillon at the Paris World’s fair of 1937, taking place alongside Julio Gonzalez’s Motserrat and Picasso’s masterpiece, Guernica. The Spanish Pavillon that year provided an unprecedented emotive force that made clear the feelings of sympathy which these artists felt for their fellow citizens in support of the Republic. Within these series of wartime works, the trope of a female figure in distress became a potent symbol for artists such as Picasso and Miro, leading the former to his seminal Weeping Woman series. The present work originates from a similar series which Miro executed in 1938 focusing on the female figure, which included masterworks such as Tête de femme now in Minneapolis Institute of Art’s collection