Seven Decades of Miró | Christie’s Sell 85 Works from a Private Treasure Trove

16th January 2014
Alyssa Howell
cut112 Seven Decades of Miró | Christies Sell 85 Works from a Private Treasure TroveJoan Miró (1893-1983) Painting, oil on canvas, 1953. Image: Courtesy of Christie’s.

This February Christie’s London brings us this showcase of 85 works that highlights seven decades of Joan Miró’s impressive and diverse career. Joan Miró has been highly influential for a large number of artists, from Picasso to Pollock. Most often associated with Surrealism, Miró’s work has an appeal that transcends traditional categories. The property was formerly in a private corporate collection and is now being sold by decision of the Portuguese Republic.

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Joan Miró (1893-1983) 'Apparitions (Visions) 30 August 1935. Image: Courtesy of Christie's

Miró’s ability to innovate is shown through his works which feature a wide range of materials and techniques as well as key themes and subjects ranging from poetry and dreams, to music and stars, to women and birds.

With estimates ranging from £10,000 to £7million, this collection provides collectors at every level with a remarkable opportunity not only to add key work to established collections but for new collectors to buy their very first work, from such an iconic artist.

This collection has been spread over three auctions:

The Art of the Surreal Evening Sale: held on February 4th, this collection is quite extraordinary in its depth. It contains six of the 27 paintings on masonite that Miró created during the summer of 1936, on the cusp of the Spanish Civil War (four in The Art of the Evening Sale and two in the Day Sale, detailed below). It also features three of the beautiful and rarely seen 36 enamel-like gouaches that Miro executed between August and September 1935, led by Apparitions (Visions), gouache and India ink on paper, executed on 30 August 1935 (estimate: £450,000-650,000).

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Joan Miró (1893-1983) Femmes et oiseaux (Women and Birds) 1968. Image: Courtesy of Christie's

Impressionist and Modern Art Day Sale: held on February 5th, looking at the surfaces of the Masonite works in this collection, it becomes clear that they are a league away from the earlier, smaller pictures on the same support that Miró had created at the beginning of the year. Miró uses a variety of materials and gestures to create frantic signs; these are made all the more visceral by the warm glow of the rough, man-made background. Now that the Spanish Civil War had begun, Miró created his paintings on Masonite, which are filled with torrid passages of paint and other material. This was in stark contrast to the controlled conflict in the earlier Masonite pictures. Now, Miró appeared to be attacking the entire process of representation, taking his own visual language and disassembling it.

The Impressionist and Modern Works on Paper Sale: held on February 5th. Among the works on sale will be Le Petit village, executed on 31 October 1938, pencil, watercolour and gouache on black paper (estimate: £200,000-300,000); Personnage dans un paysage, 1970, gouache, pastel and pen and India ink on paper (estimate: £40,000-60,000); Personnages et oiseau dans la nuit, executed on 26 July 1963, watercolour and brush and India ink on paper (estimate: £160,000-220,000); Femme et oiseau, 1965, gouache, pastel and wax crayon on paper (estimate: £300,000-500,000).