Joan Miró and Louis Marcoussis. Portrait of Miró. 1938. Drypoint, engraving, and etching, 13 3/16 x 10 15/16" (33.5 x 27.8 cm) © 1998 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris

Printed sheets document the successive stages of Miró’s development of this composition. When superimposed they shed light on his creative process.


Portrait of Miró was created by Miró in collaboration with painter and printmaker Louis Marcoussis. The artist’s features were drawn by Marcoussis; the entangling web was superimposed by Miró.

At this time, Miró was working in the print workshop Marcoussis maintained in his studio. He spent an extended time there learning the etching techniques from Marcoussis, an expert printmaker.

The Portrait of Miró is a compelling visualization of Surrealist principles, in that the irrational impulses of nightmares seem to overcome tangible reality. Surrealists used a variety of methods to uncover, in the words of poet and theorist André Breton, "the actual functioning of thought, in the absence of any control exercised by reason."


©1998 The Museum of Modern Art, New York