Joan Miró: Painting and Anti-Painting 1927–1937

Joan Miró
Montroig and Barcelona, July–October 1936

Joan Miró. Painting. Montroig and Barcelona, July–October 1936

Spanish, 1893–1983 Oil, casein, tar, and sand on Masonite, 30 1/4 x 41 13/16" (76.8 x 106.2 cm). Private collection, Switzerland Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona. Photograph: Jaume Blassi. © 2008 Successió Miró/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris Audio courtesy of Acoustiguide

Curator, Anne Umland: We're looking at a work on masonite, in which Miró has used tar, enamel, casein, glue, gouging, scratching.

Conservator, Jim Coddington: Miró introduces a new strategy that is perhaps reflective of his state of mind at the time. And that is as he was gouging these works and literally sculpting into the surface of these masonite boards, these particular gestures are things that can not be erased.

Anne Umland: It's a very aggressively structured and composed picture. It also has a certain violence, a rawness of execution to it that is often seen in relation to the period in which it was made, in these months leading up to and during the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. Miró leaves large areas of the support bare to contribute a predominant color.

If you look down, in the lower right-hand corner of the picture, there are actual punctures and gouge marks. It's as though in places he has spilled or poured tar. The forms and the lines are uneven and ungainly.

These pictures are disjunctive in the truest sense. This one, in particular, seems to restage a number of ideas and images from the past in Miró's work. The shape at the left, the vertical figure, with what might be taken to read as a single eye, in that yellow and black sphere, sort of looms over the shapes in the lower right, and in fact, goes back to sketches Miró had made for a theatrical ballet. While over on the right are paintings of elements that resemble some of his forays and experiments into collage and construction.

Narrator: Jim Coddington says Miró liked working with masonite. To hear why, press 6-2-3-0.

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