This summer the Fondation de l’Hermitage welcomes an exceptional collection of 80 works by Joan Miró (1893-1983) from the Foundation Pilar i Joan Miró in Palma, Majorca, which possesses a considerable part of the artist’s patrimony. The exhibition concentrates on the works of his maturity, created during the last thirty years of his life in the Majorcan workshop where the great master lived from 1956 until his death 1983.
The exhibition illustrates the ultimate phase of production of the painter’s long career, the moment at which his dream came true: the dream of a huge workshop and a laboratory in which he could work in peace and quiet, in direct contact with nature, a source of infinite inspiration.
"Majorca is poetry and light", affirmed Miró in 1957. A vast space favourable to creative activity, the workshop created by the Catalan architect Josep Lluís Sert allowed him to simultaneously create several works, in a constant abundance of new ideas.
From the 60s to the 70s, motifs of women, birds and handprints, as well as landscapes, populate an oeuvre of lively and powerful colours. Using these themes, Miró simplifies the figures, his iconography becoming increasingly abstract. Several modes of execution coexist in his production, from static works such as Mosaic (1966) to vehement brushstrokes in Poetry (1966).
The large monochrome landscapes of the 70s thus reveal Miró’s attraction to abstract expressionism and extreme-oriental calligraphy. These influences give his paintings a strippeddown look which is characterised by black lines bursting out upon the immaculate canvas. His language made of marks, signs, bursts of paint, prints and scratches conveys exceptionally well
the protean spirit of the Catalan genius. Throughout the last years of his life he created a series of stylised motifs on a royal blue background of rare intensity, as in Untitled (1978). Simultaneously, Miró abandoned his paintbrushes, preferring to paint with his fingers upon composite materials
(cardboard, sandpaper, wood…), the reflection of a faultless creativity.
Following a chronological and thematical path the collection contains a series of fifty oil paintings, several of which are large format (such as Woman in the street, 1973), and yet there are also sculptures made out of baked clay and bronze (Woman, 1967), as well as works on paper (engravings, Indian ink). Several sketches created for public art projects, such as the mural decorations of Harvard University’s Karnkes Commons, or from Cincinnati’s Terrace Plaza Hotel, are also present.
A scenographic reconstitution of Miró’s workshop in Palma, Majorca, as well as a collection of original objects belonging to the artist allow visitors to discover the captivating universe of the Catalan master. Completing the exhibition are a substantial biographical section, photographic archives, as well as a documentary film about the artist.
Fondation de l’Hermitage Website