Artwork Detail

Peinture (Painting)
Spanish, 1893–1983
Oil on linen
39 1/2 x 28 3/4 "
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Richard K. Weil, 1963
WU 4130
© Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
In the mid-1920s the Spanish Surrealist artist Joan Miró made line drawings in paint of semiabstract figures and signs that hinted at per­sonal and symbolic meanings. In Peinture, a diagrammatic arrangement of solid and dotted lines, letters, and shapes in red and black appears to float over a horizonless space. Miró created the illusion of a bound­ less vaporous atmosphere by applying layers of diluted paint over a canvas sized with glue to reduce permeability, resulting in an uneven absorption of paint. Over the mottled background, the profile of a mustachioed bourgeois gentleman is delineated by a thin line that ends in a thick red coil suggestive of anatomical or scatological associations. The ambiguity of this visual innuendo is underscored by the letters J O I along the left side of the canvas, which may allude to the French words joie (joy), jouer (to play), journal (newspaper), or jouir (to enjoy). [Permanent collection label, 2019]