Joan Miró (1893-1983) Tête 21 1/2 in (54.1 cm) (height) (Conceived in 1968 and cast between 1968 and 1973 by the Fundició Parellada, Barcelona, in an edition of two plus one artists proof and one nominative proof)
Lot 21
Joan Miró
(1893-1983)
Tête 21 1/2 in (54.1 cm) (height)
Sold for US$ 137,500 inc. premium

Impressionist and Modern Art

14 Nov 2017, 17:00 EST

New York

Lot Details
Joan Miró (1893-1983) Tête 21 1/2 in (54.1 cm) (height) (Conceived in 1968 and cast between 1968 and 1973 by the Fundició Parellada, Barcelona, in an edition of two plus one artists proof and one nominative proof) Joan Miró (1893-1983) Tête 21 1/2 in (54.1 cm) (height) (Conceived in 1968 and cast between 1968 and 1973 by the Fundició Parellada, Barcelona, in an edition of two plus one artists proof and one nominative proof) Joan Miró (1893-1983) Tête 21 1/2 in (54.1 cm) (height) (Conceived in 1968 and cast between 1968 and 1973 by the Fundició Parellada, Barcelona, in an edition of two plus one artists proof and one nominative proof) Joan Miró (1893-1983) Tête 21 1/2 in (54.1 cm) (height) (Conceived in 1968 and cast between 1968 and 1973 by the Fundició Parellada, Barcelona, in an edition of two plus one artists proof and one nominative proof) Joan Miró (1893-1983) Tête 21 1/2 in (54.1 cm) (height) (Conceived in 1968 and cast between 1968 and 1973 by the Fundició Parellada, Barcelona, in an edition of two plus one artists proof and one nominative proof) Joan Miró (1893-1983) Tête 21 1/2 in (54.1 cm) (height) (Conceived in 1968 and cast between 1968 and 1973 by the Fundició Parellada, Barcelona, in an edition of two plus one artists proof and one nominative proof)
Joan Miró (1893-1983)
Tête
signed and numbered 'Miró 2/2' and with foundry mark 'Parellada' (back of the base)
bronze with original patination
21 1/2 in (54.1 cm) (height)
Conceived in 1968 and cast between 1968 and 1973 by the Fundició Parellada, Barcelona, in an edition of two plus one artists proof and one nominative proof

Footnotes

  • Provenance
    Galerie Maeght, Paris.
    William A. Seavey (acquired from the above on 23 December 1980).

    Literature
    J.J. Sweeney, Joan Miró, Barcelona, 1970, p. 166-7.
    J. Dupin, Miró escultor, Barcelona, 1972, p. 167.
    A. Jouffroy and J. Teixidor, Miró Sculptures, Paris, 1980, p. 49, no. 93.
    Fundació Joan Miró, Obra de Joan Miró, Barcelona, 1988, p. 412, no. 1510.
    E.F. Miró and P.O. Chapel, Joan Miró, Sculptures. Catalogue raisonné 1928-1982, Paris, 2006, p. 126, no. 114.

    The authenticity of this work has been confirmed by ADOM.

    Miró's sculpture took a radical new direction in the early 1960's under the influence of his French dealer Aimé Maeght. In particular, he began to think in terms of outdoor settings, developing a unique visual language using assembled found objects which were then cast in bronze. He also took particular care to work on the patina at the foundry himself, considering it of equivalent importance to the surface of a painting, ensuring that his creative vision was realized exactly as he intended.

    Cast in 1968 at the Parellada foundry in Barcelona, Tête is a characteristic example of the artist's ability to create evocative and exotic creatures. Assembled from unidentifiable objects, the sculpture retains a rough, unfinished and ancient look, seeming to blend into the surrounding landscape like the Moai of Easter Island.

    One of Miro's great strengths is his capacity to alter the function of an object and give it a new purpose and meaning. The present work is a testament to this ability. Although Tête is an assemblage of various unrelated objects, the viewer is naturally inclined to interpret it as a face. It is only on a careful examination that the elements present themselves, coyly revealing their previous functions.

    Joan Miró's interest in sculpture was first encouraged by Francesc d'Assís Galí i Fabra, his professor at the progressive Escola d'Art Galí in Barcelona. Miró recalled: 'Galí was a remarkable teacher. He gave me an exercise so that I would learn to 'see' form: He blindfolded me, and placed objects in my hands, then he asked me to draw the objects without having seen them." (quoted in Miró Sculptures, exhib. cat., Royal Scottish Academy, Edinburgh, 1992, p. 33).

    Although sculpture became a more dominant element in his output in the later 1940's, Miró had always worked in three dimensions. Before beginning a painting, he would sometimes consider the composition in terms of volumes, as if the education he had received from Galí had trained him to start with sculpture as the basis for a flat work of art.

    Miró arrived in Paris in 1920, when Dada was at its height, making the natural move to André Breton's Surrealist orbit from 1922. He presented his first sculpted works in a Surrealist vein at the Salon des Surindépendents. In the 1930's, in common with other Surrealist artists he began to use everyday or unexpected objects gathered into three-dimensional assemblages. Although his postwar work does not exactly follow this practice, the influence of this earlier period can certainly be discerned.

    Whether at his small farmhouse at Montroig, south of Barcelona, or in Mallorca, Miró picked up objects during his walks in the countryside or at the beach, later transforming them in the studio: 'when sculpting, I start from the objects I collect, just as I make use of stains on paper and imperfections in canvases ... I make a cast of these objects and work on it like Gonzales does until the object as such no longer exists but becomes a sculpture.' (J. Miró quoted in M. Rowell, ed., Joan Miró: Selected Writings and Interviews, Boston, 1986, p. 175).

    Miró's rambling walks were a central element in his inspiration, and he found it essential to be close to nature, sometimes even painting directly onto stones so that he could directly mark the landscape that surrounded him. 'May my sculptures be confused with elements of nature, trees, rocks, roots, mountains, plants, flowers. [I will] build myself a studio in the middle of the countryside, very spacious, with a facade that blends into the earth... and now and then take my sculptures outdoors so they blend into the landscape.' (ibid., p. 175).

    Although he was trying to create a natural environment, Miró was also keen to liberate the imagination by producing a body of work that was humorous and 'a truly phantasmagoric world of living monsters' (ibid., p. 175). His studio was to give the impression of 'entering a new world' that would allow him to 'feel as though he was going inside the earth and that his work would come out more natural and spontaneous' (ibid., pp. 175 and 190). As he wrote to Pierre Matisse, his dealer in New York, his aim was to 'transport you into a world of real unreality'' (ibid., p. 135).
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