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Paintings and Sculptures by Avant-Garde Pioneer Joan Miró Coming to Seattle Art Museum in 2014

Miró: The Experience of Seeing
February 13–May 25, 2014

SEATTLE, February 6, 2013 – In February 2014, visitors to the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) will be treated to a rare glimpse at the later works of Spanish-born artist Joan Miró (1893–1983), one of the greatest innovators of the 20th-century art in Europe. A contemporary of Picasso as well as a fellow Catalan, Miró was briefly aligned with the Surrealists in the late 1920s in Paris and went on to create a phenomenal pictorial and sculptural universe throughout his six-decade career.

Showcasing works of art exclusively drawn from the last 20 years of the artist’s life, Miró: The Experience of Seeing will bring an extensive and illuminating body of Miró’s work to the West Coast for the first time. A total of 48 works including paintings, sculptures and drawings will travel to Seattle (February 13–May 18, 2014) from Spain’s national museum of modern and contemporary art, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid (Museo Reina Sofía).

"Our collaboration with the Museo Reina Sofía, one of Europe’s greatest museums of modern art, allows us to share the work of one of the world’s most important artists with Northwest audiences for the very first time," said Kimerly Rorschach, Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director of SAM.

Miró lived in Paris from 1920 until 1932, regularly traveling back to Spain until the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War in 1936 prevented his return home. He had become known for his dream-like paintings with a personal system of signs and symbols. Once war broke out he introduced overtly political commentary into his work. Miró consistently exercised his personal freedom in his work, which in the face of political turmoil is infused with irony and anger as much as joy and tenderness. In 1940, after the war ended, Miró returned to Spain. 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 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.

Miró: The Experience of Seeing is comprised entirely of works created between 1963 and the artist’s death in 1983, all of which come from the collection of the Museo Reina Sofía. 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.

Surrounded by four decades of his own artistic production, Miró crafted works that were both driven by, and expressive of, the process of art making itself. 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 his favorite subjects: nature and the human figure. Together, the 48 works of art on view in Miró: The Experience of Seeing reveal the fullness of the artist’s ingenuity. Bold and colorful painted compositions dominated by elements of the artist’s familiar, personal visual language alternate with other, nearly completely abstract images.

In addition, during this late period, Miró created more sculpture than he had in earlier years; and the inspiration he drew from found objects is explicit—reminiscent of both his earlier Surrealist explorations and of the sculptural assemblages of his contemporary Pablo Picasso. The dialogue between painting and sculpture is at the heart of his late work and provides new avenues through which to approach the artist’s career.

Miró: The Experience of Seeing is curated by Carmen Fernández Aparicio, Chief Curator of Sculpture, and Belén Galán, Chief Curator of Paintings at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. The local curator of the exhibition is Catharina Manchanda, Jon & Mary Shirley Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Seattle Art Museum. Exhibition organized by the Seattle Art Museum and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. Corporate Sponsor is Christie’s.

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

The Seattle presentation of this exhibition is made possible with critical funding provided by SAM’s Fund for Special Exhibitions.

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

Major Sponsors  
Seattle Art Museum Supporters (SAMS)

Supporting Sponsors   
Herman and Faye Sarkowsky Endowment
Washington State Arts Commission/National Endowment for the Arts

Miró Corporate Circle
Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

Cultural Partner     
The Embassy of Spain in Washington, D.C.

Broadcast Media Sponsor      

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.

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Wendy Malloy
SAM Public Relations


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