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Miró: The Experience of Seeing

Feb 13 – May 26 2014

Seattle Art Museum

Simonyi Special Exhibition Galleries

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This exhibition, drawn entirely from the collection of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, offers a fresh assessment of the late period in Miró’s work—a body of work that audiences in the United States have not had the opportunity to fully appreciate. The exhibition brings together over 50 paintings, drawings and sculptures made in the period between 1963 and 1981 that testify to the artist’s ingenuity and inventiveness to the very end of his life. Bold and colorful paintings employing his personal visual language alternate with near-abstract compositions. Although Miró had experimented with sculpture in earlier periods, it is only in the late years that painting and sculpture stand in direct dialogue with each other—a principal feature of this exhibition.

The paintings and sculptures in the exhibition plumb the process of making art, part of Miró’s concern since his earliest works. In his quest to transcend easel painting, Miró expanded pictorial space across vast canvas fields, using an increasingly simplified language to turn accidental or fortuitous motifs into calligraphic signs. In his sculpture, the inspiration of found objects is more overt, linking the work to his Surrealist explorations of the 1920s as well as the sculptural inventions of his contemporary, Pablo Picasso. Miró also employs many of the same forms and signs in his sculpture, as in his paintings, creating a synergy between the two bodies of work. His work during these mature years represents a personal language where painting and sculpture are equally valued.

–Chiyo Ishikawa, Susan Brotman Deputy Director for Art and Curator of European Painting and Sculpture & Catharina Manchanda, Jon and Mary Shirley Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art

Woman, Bird and Star (Homage to Picasso), February 15, 1966/April 3-8, 1973, Joan Miró (Spanish 1893–1983), oil on canvas, 96 7/16 x 66 15/16 in., Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. © 2013 Successió Miró/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/ADAGP, Paris. Reproduction, including downloading of Joan Miró works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Woman, Bird and Star (Homage To Picasso)

WOMAN, BIRD AND STAR (HOMAG​E TO PICASSO), FEBRUARY 15, 1966 / APRIL 3-8, 1973, OIL ON CANVAS, 96 7/16 X 66 15/16 IN.​​ ​​​​​​​​

The Warrior King

THE WARRIOR KING, 1981, LOST-WAx CASTING, PATINATED BRONZE, 48 5/8 X 24 3/16 X 15 9/16 IN.

Joan ​Miró at Home in his Studio in Palma de Mallorca

JOAN ​MIRÓ AT HOME IN HIS STUDIO IN PALMA DE MALLORCA, C. 1977. PHOTO: © CHRISTIAN SIMONPIETRI / SYGMA / CORBIS

​About Miró

A contemporary of Picasso, Miró was born in 1893 in Catalonia and moved to Paris in 1920, where he remained for the duration of the Spanish Civil War. He permanently relocated back to Spain in 1940. While in Paris, he became known for his paintings with a personal system of signs and symbols. Miró consistently exercised his personal freedom in his work, which in the face of political turmoil was infused with tragedy and anger as much as joy and tenderness.

Brilliantly inventive, the artist continually pushed the boundaries of art and had a surge of creative ideas in the decades following World War II, when he embraced entirely new techniques and used new forms of media. In 1956, Miró moved to a new studio on Mallorca, where for the first time he could gather together the entirety of his production. This gave him direct access to all of his works and allowed him to take stock of the artistic achievements of four decades. He was particularly engaged by the relationship between painting and sculpture, which had not been at the center of his earliest work.

Woman Entranced by the Escape of Shooting Stars

WOMAN ENTRANCED BY THE ESCAPE OF SHOOTING STARS, 1969, ACRYLIC ON CANVAS, 76 3/4 x 51 3/16 IN.​

WOMAN AT THE SQUARE IN A CEMETERY

WOMAN AT THE SQUARE IN A CEMETERY, 1981, LOST-WAX CASTING, PATINATED BRONZE, 23 13/16 X 23 1/16 X 20 1/16 IN.

The process of making art

This exhibition offers a fresh assessment of the late period in Miró’s work—a body of work that audiences in the United States have not had the opportunity to fully appreciate—that testifies to the artist’s ingenuity and inventiveness to the very end of his life. These later works distill the styles, subjects and motifs of Miró’s work into their most essential and universal forms, as the artist sought to create an experience that would transcend the physical object.

Between 1963 and 1983, while in his Mallorca studio where he was surrounded by four decades of his own artistic production, Miró crafted works that plumb the process of making art. For instance, the artist would find the starting point for a painting in an accidental drip of paint or the smudge of a fingerprint, and from there build a composition that synthesized shape, color and line to represent subjects such as nature and the human figure and celestial bodies.

Women and Bird in the Night

WOMEN AND BIRD IN THE NIGHT, 1974, OIL, ACRYLIC, AND CHARCOAL PENCIL ON CANVAS, 102 3/8 X 72 13/16 IN.

Figure

FIGURE, 1969, LOST-WAX CASTING, PATINATED BRONZE, 55 7/8 X 16 3/4 X 16 5/16 IN., BASE: 16 9/16 X 12 13/16 X 12 3/16 IN.​

Women VI

WOMEN VI, 1969, OIL ON CANVAS, 28 3/4 X 36 1/4 IN.​​​​​

Young Girl

YOUNG GIRL, 1967, LOST-WAX CASTING, PATINATED BRONZE, 13 X 14 3/16 X 2 3/4 IN.​​​​​​​

Head, Bird

HEAD, BIRD, 1977, INDIAN INK, LITHOGRAPHIC INK, TEMPERA, AND WAX ON PAPER, 39 3/8 X 27 3/8 IN.​​​

​“

I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.

Miró​​​​

​​​​
Figure and Bird

FIGURE AND BIRD, 1968, LOST-WAX CASTING, PATINATED BRONZE, 40 9/16 X 23 5/8 X 8 7/16 IN.

Signs, symbols & Assemblage

In his quest to transcend easel painting, Miró expanded pictorial space, using an increasingly simplified language to turn accidental or fortuitous motifs into calligraphic signs. In his sculpture, the inspiration of found objects is more overt, linking the work to his Surrealist explorations of the 1920s as well as the sculptural assemblages of his contemporary, Pablo Picasso. Miró also employs many of the same forms and signs in his sculpture as in his paintings, creating a synergy between the two bodies of work. His work during these mature years represents a personal language where painting and sculpture are equally valued.

Young Woman Dreaming of Evasion

YOUNG WOMAN DREAMING OF EVASION, 1969, LOST-WAX CASTING, PATINATED BRONZE, 39 X 8 7/8 X 6 7/8 IN.​

Sponsors

This exhibition is organized by the Seattle Art Museum and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.
Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía

Special exhibitions at SAM are made possible by donors to:
SAM Fund for Special Exhibitions

This exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

Major Sponsors
Christie's
Seattle Art Museum Supporters (SAMS)

Supporting Sponsors
Honorary Consulate of Spain in Seattle
Herman and Faye Sarkowsky Endowment
Washington State Arts Commission / National Endowment for the Arts

Cultural Partner
Spain Arts & Culture

Broadcast Media Sponsor
KING 5

Miró Corporate Circle
Carbures
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
Dragados U.S.A.
MTorres America
Plain Concepts
The Tourist Office of Spain in Los Angeles

Print Media Sponsor
The Stranger

Official Hotel Sponsor
Four Seasons Hotel Seattle

Promotional Partner
Visit Seattle

Contemporary and modern art programs at SAM are supported by a generous group of donors in honor of Bagley Wright.

All works in Miró: The Experience of Seeing by Joan Miró, Spanish, 1893-1983, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, © Successio Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, ADAGP, Paris, 2014.​​ Reproduction, including downloading of Joan Miró works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.​​

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