Joan Miró - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale New York Sunday, November 8, 2015 | Phillips

Create your first list.

Select an existing list or create a new list to share and manage lots you follow.

  • Provenance

    Doña Pilar Miró
    Sotheby's, Madrid, 42 Works by Joan Miró, December 9, 1986, lot 41
    Private Collection
    Christie's, New York, Impressionist & Modern Works on Paper, November 9, 2000, lot 460
    Quintana Fine Arts, New York
    Ramis Barquet Gallery, Mexico City
    Private Collection, USA
    Waddington Galleries, London
    Acquired from the above by the present owner in 2004

  • Literature

    J. Dupin, Joan Miró: Catalogue Raisonné: Paintings, Vol. VI, Palma de Mallorca: Successió Miró, 2004, p. 1976_49, no. 1737 (illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Joan Miró never joined any particular movement during his multi-decade career, instead calling his style “experimental”. Miró’s 1976 painting Femme, Oiseaux encompasses the effortless way in which the artist was able to combine a multitude of influences during his later career to create an original and highly graphic painting. From the disembodied eyes of a surrealist painting, to the erratic gestures of an Abstract Expressionist, to the bold lines of a minimalist or a Japanese calligrapher – one sees here how Miró retained his own iconic style while creating an au courant picture.

    In Femme, Oiseaux, the piercing, signature eyes of the bird, and bold red brushwork of the femme immediately draws the viewer in and around a swirling and erratic picture space. Miró has presented us with a jewel sized universe of nature translated into an almost abstract expressionist and graffiti-like picture. In his own words, Miró states that “My characters have undergone the same process of simplification as the colors. Now that they have been simplified, they appear more human and alive than if they had been represented in all their details." On a simple platform of board, Miró brings alive both the femme (woman) and oiseaux (bird) through the grace and elegance of simple, reductive lines.

    Miró describes the process behind his creations in an early 1948 interview, explaining, “First, the suggestion, usually from the material; second, the conscious organization of these forms; and third, the compositional enrichment… Forms take reality for me as I work. In other words, rather than setting out to paint something, I begin painting and as I paint the picture begins to assert itself, or suggest itself under my brush. The form becomes a sign for a woman or a bird as I work. Even a few casual wipes of my brush in cleaning it may suggest the beginning of a picture. The second stage, however, is carefully calculated. The first stage is free, unconscious; but after that the picture is controlled throughout, in keeping with that desire for disciplined work I have felt from the beginning.” (M. Rowell, ed., Joan Miró: Selected Writings and Interviews, Boston, 1986, p. 211) The present lot perfectly illustrates Miró’s articulated process, which has been sustained through his career due in part to his symbiotic relationship with the younger generation of artist’s including Jackson Pollock, Brice Marden, Franz Kline and Jean-Michel Basquiat who all credited Miró with their successful explorations into the lyrical nature of the line.

Property of a Private Collector, Lisbon


Femme, oiseaux

oil, gouache on board
25 5/8 x 19 3/4 in. (65.1 x 50.2 cm)
Signed "Miró" lower right; further signed, titled and dated "Miró. 20/IV/76. Femme, oiseaux" on the reverse.

$500,000 - 700,000 

Sold for $605,000

Contact Specialist
Kate Bryan
Head of Evening Sale
New York
+ 1 212 940 1267

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

New York Auction 8 November 2015 7pm