Joan Miró - 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale London Sunday, June 26, 2016 | Phillips

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  • Video

    Joan Miró: Finding Peace in the Primal

    Two works made 40 years apart by the multi-disciplinary master Joan Miró recall the artist's interests in primal forms and typify the playful approach that came to define his career. Specialist Matt Langton describes the artist’s process of accumulating materials, and how the political turmoil in Europe informed his process.

  • Provenance

    Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York
    Private Collection, New York
    James Goodman Gallery, New York
    Private Collection, Palm Beach
    Sotheby’s, New York, Impressionist & Modern Art Day Sale, 9 May 2007, lot 380
    Private Collection
    Sotheby’s, New York, Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale, May 5, 2009, lot 36
    Acquired at the above sale by the present owner

  • Exhibited

    Ludwigshafen, Wilhelm-Hack-Museum, Miró: Mein Atelier ist mein Garten, October 2000-January 2001 (another example exhibited)
    Genoa, Museo dell'Accademia Ligustica di Belle Arti, Joan Miró: L'armonia del fantastico. 7 July-15 September 2001 (another example exhibited)
    Tours, Château de Tours, De la figuration au geste: Miró à Tours, 27 October 2001-27 February 2002
    Salerno, Complesso di Santa Sofia, Mediterraneo Miró, 16 November 2002-16 January 2003
    Como, Villa Olmo, Joan Miró: Alchimista del segno, 13 March-6 June 2004
    Barcelona, Generalitat de Catalunya, Joan Miró: La metàfora de l'objecte, February 2007-March 2008
    Carcassone, Musée des beaux-arts, Miró: La métaphore de l'objet, 20 June-21 September 2008

  • Literature

    Miró en las colecciones del Estado, exh. cat., Madrid, Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, 1987, no. 89, p. 104 (another cast illustrated)
    Miró: Gemälde, Plastiken, Zeichnungen und Graphik, exh. cat., Frankfurt, Schirn Kunsthalle, 1988, no. 89, p. 120 (another cast illustrated)
    Le rêve interrompu de Miró exh. cat., Paris, Centre Culturel Espagnol, 1988, no. 41, p. 133 (another cast illustrated)
    Escultores de Miró, exh. cat., Llonja, Palma de Mallorca, 1990, no. 23, p. 141 (another cast illustrated)
    Palma: territori Miró, exh. cat., Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca, Palma de Mallorca, 1996, no. 68, p. 183 (another cast illustrated)
    Joan Miró The Last Bronze Sculptures 1981 -1983, exh. cat., Gerald Peters Gallery, Santa Fe, 2006, pp. 42-43 (another cast illustrated)
    E. F. Miró & P. O. Chapel, Joan Miró, Sculptures. Catalogue raisonné 1928-1982, Paris, 2006, no. 374, p. 347 (another cast illustrated)

  • Catalogue Essay

    Cast just two years before Miró’s death, Figure is among the last of the sculptures the artist produced. This impressive sculptural creation is a testament to Miro’s enthusiasm and passion for creating art, even at the age of 88. Characteristically, this asymmetrical figure has departed from any representation of reality. Various discrete elements and unidentifiable forms coalesce into a wholeheartedly free and spontaneous work, just one of many attempts by the artist ‘to surprise meaning from matter. 'Despite any ambiguity or abstraction within the work, there is a tangible primal sentiment to it. With subtle odes to the figures of totemic and Palaeolithic art, Figure is a means for Miro ‘to rediscover the sources of human feeling.' (Lee 1947; in Rowell 1986, p.204)

    There is a head, anthropomorphized by deep, hollowed eyes and a few delicately incised lines that suggest cheeks, even a smile perchance. Miscellaneous objects protrude from this head, an oblong item as a nose, jagged tools as ears and an empty pill bottle perched delicately – perhaps as a hat. Beneath this playfulness is an arguably more monolithic form, bending slightly to produce an amorphous body for the head above. The entire figure stands on a humble, uneven wooden base. The rusty, oxidized hue of the bronze is akin to terracotta, with a slash of deep blue being the only break in color. Cast in bronze at the Parellada workshop in Barcelona, this sculpture is the third from an edition of six. However, beneath this bronze lie ambiguous materials of unknown origins. Miró spent the last two decades of his life enjoying walks on the beaches near his home of Mallorca, where he would find a range of objects that he would later incorporate into his work. Figure is an assemblage of these found objects, disparate elements united and transformed by the artist’s hand.



painted bronze
102 x 47.5 x 31.5 cm (40 1/8 x 18 3/4 x 12 3/8 in.)
Incised 'Miró'. Stamped with the foundry mark Parellada and numbered '3/6'. This work is number 3 from an edition of 6.

£400,000 - 600,000 

Sold for £365,000

Contact Specialist
Peter Sumner
Head of Contemporary Art, London
+44 207 318 4063

20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale

London Auction 27 June 2016