Joan Miró Sans titre 24 3/4 x 18 1/2 in (62.8 x 46 cm) (Executed in 1930)

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Lot 26
Joan Miró
Sans titre 24 3/4 x 18 1/2 in (62.8 x 46 cm)

Sold for US$ 81,325 inc. premium

Impressionist & Modern Art

14 May 2019, 17:00 EDT

New York

Joan Miró
Sans titre
signed and dated '6.10.930 Joan Miró' (on verso)
pen and pencil on paper
24 3/4 x 18 1/2 in (62.8 x 46 cm)
Executed in 1930


  • Provenance
    Galerie Berggruen, Paris.
    Private collection, France.
    Galerie Berri-Lardy & Cie, Paris (acquired from the above).
    Acquired from the above in July 1965.

    J. Dupin & A. Lelong-Mainauld, Joan Miró: Catalogue Raisonné. Drawings 1901-1937, vol. I, Paris, 2008, no. 309 (illustrated p. 155).

    Sans titre was executed by Joan Miró during a fecund period of expression in the artist's career. He had been immersed in the creative hub of Paris for a decade but not yet preoccupied by the Spanish Civil War, which began in 1936. 1930 marked a personal milestone for Miró: it is the year he became a father.

    His artwork from the first half of the 1930s is buoyant, confident, optimistic, and unflinchingly experimental. It is during this period that he declared the 'assassination' of traditional painting and cemented his international reputation; in 1936 he was included in the Museum of Modern Art, New York exhibitions Cubism and Abstract Art and Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism and in 1941 Miró's first major museum retrospective was held at MoMA.

    When he moved from Barcelona to Paris in 1920, his studio became, according to Jacques Dupin, 'an avant-garde laboratory' for artists and writers (J. Dupin, Joan Miró, Life and Work, New York, 1962, p. 137). Miró began combining detailed realism and abstraction in landscapes (such as in The Farm) but then removed objects from mundane contexts and reassembled them. He remarked: "I begin my paintings because something jolts me away from reality. This shock can be caused by a little thread that comes loose from the canvas, a drop of water that falls, the fingerprint my thumb leaves on the shiny surface of this table."

    He played an active role in the Parisian community of artists and writers. Miró participated in Dada happenings, showed at the 1923 Salon d'Automne, and signed the Surrealist manifesto in 1924. In the manifesto, André Breton defined the foundation of Surrealism as "pure psychic automatism...the dictation of thought in the absence of all control exercised by reason."

    Miró embraced the tenets of Surrealism; he was interested in spontaneity and fantasy liberating the unconscious. He strove to upset the visual elements of established painting by formulating a new pictorial language. Random symbols and indeterminate forms float across and punctuate the surface of his artworks, imbuing them with a mysterious, oneiric quality.

    Sans titre is a whimsical drawing comprised of geometric, schematic linear configurations contrasting with biomorphic elements. The lines of an acute angle form the scaffolding of the composition; the viewer's eye is led to the vertex of the angle which meets a small circle resembling a child-like rendering of a human face. Crisp pencil lines undulate from the central compositional elements and a dense nest of markings appears incongruously in the right-hand corner.

    Like Sans titre, works such as Peinture and Dessin – Collage are neutral in hue, predominantly cream and yellow. Miró stated, "My figures underwent the same simplification as my colors. Simplified as they are, they are more human and more alive than they would be if represented in all their detail. Represented in detail, they would lose their imaginary quality, which enhances everything." These examples from Miró's oeuvre of the 1920s and 1930s demonstrate the unmistakable hand of the artist and the unsurpassed power of the simple, unembellished line.

    Miró's Sans titre and similar paintings and drawings of this period prefigure his 1941 Constellations series and other important late pieces. This work on paper was completed in Miró's hallmark style, redolent of Surrealism and his unmistakable sense of play and wonder.
Joan Miró Sans titre 24 3/4 x 18 1/2 in (62.8 x 46 cm) (Executed in 1930)
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