Artwork Detail

Peinture (Painting)
Spanish, 1893–1983
Oil on canvas mounted on board
51 15/16 x 77 5/8 "
University purchase, Kende Sale Fund, 1945
WU 3768
© Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris
The Spanish artist Joan Miró was one of the most significant early proponents of Surrealism. This large painting belongs to a series of eighteen similar compositions. Based on an earlier collage of biomorphic fragments cut out from sales catalogs, the painting presents an image of abstracted forms interlocked across the surface of the canvas. The hard-edged organic shapes, rendered primarily with flat blacks and whites but also with simple primary and secondary hues, are set against an amorphous brown and green background. The painting exhibits a tension between the illusion of depth and an emphasis on flat surface effects, as Miró's amoeba-like forms appear to be in constant metamorphosis and flux. They waver between being purely formal elements and alluding to organic entities. At the same time, within the context of the early 1930s, the large, dark, and foreboding shapes that invade and subsume others might be seen as a reference to fascist violence and cruelty. [Permanent collection label, 2019]