On facing pages, two fantastical beings of Miró's imagination engage the viewer with dramatic gestures and bright colors. The whimsical abstract form on the right appears to reach out to the female figure at the left with the assertion, "Je n'ai jamais changé" ("I have never changed"). These words repeat the last line from a poem on the previous page.
Á toute épreuve, a monumental project executed over more than a decade, consists of a series of lyrical poems that Éluard had written in the late 1920s, at the time that his wife, Gala, abandoned him for Salvador Dali. This book about love and the Catalan region of Spain was a collaborative effort involving the artist Miró, the poet Éluard, and the Swiss publisher Cramer. All three had a hand in the imaginative layouts—which interlock text and images—and the choice of paper and typeface.
Miró's woodcuts and collagraphs demonstrate the inventiveness of his printmaking. Instead of cutting into a block of wood to create the compositions, Miró arranged his designs—composed of "found" scraps of wood—on pieces of plywood. He also bent metal wires into linear elements and then glued these components to a plywood backing before printing. The results are some of the most exuberant graphic images ever created.
Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, revised 2004, originally published 1999.