The exhibition at the Schirn covers over half a century of Miró’s oeuvre, beginning with his emblematic painting The Farm / La Ferme (1921/22), continuing with his iconic dream paintings of the 1920s, his key work Painting (The Magic of Colour) / Peinture (La Magie de la couleur) from 1930, his works and frieze formats painted on unconventional grounds in the 1940s and 1950s and ending with the artist’s late works, such as the monumental triptych Blue I–– III / Bleu I––III (1961) and the extraordinary Painting I––III / Peinture I––III (July 27, 1973). The Schirn exhibition brings together around 50 works from important museums and public collections across the world, including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, the National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., the Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid, and the Centre Pompidou, Paris, as well as important private collections, and aims to present a new approach to Miró’s art.
Curator Simonetta Fraquelli said of the artist: “Miró viewed both reality and its representation in art in material terms. For him, the wall was thus not merely an object to be depicted: its materiality also dictated the intensely physical, tactile quality of his images. In this way, the matter of reality corresponded to the matter of his paintings. This move away from a straightforward reproduction of reality to the equation of the picture plane with a wall informed his work from the outset.”
In the mid-1920s, Miró dripped and splashed paint onto blue grounding in order to create the impression of old, weather-worn walls. This process resulted in paintings reminiscent of graffiti, such as Painting Poem (Stars in the Sexes of Snails) / Peinture-Poème (Étoiles en des sexes d’escargot) (1925) or Spanish Flag / Drapeau espangnol (1925).
Miró often worked in series, and certain formats recurred throughout his entire oeuvre. Along with blue painting grounds, brown ones form the second largest group of paintings. The exhibition includes the exceptional paintings Blue / Bleu (1925) and some of his widely acclaimed dream paintings, such as Painting (Figures: The Fratellini Brothers) / Peinture (Personnages: Les frères Fratellini) made in 1927. The bright blue colour used in these works is captivating and characterizes many of his canvases well into the 1960s, including the visually stunning tryptic Blue I––III / Bleu I-III (1961), over three meters in width, and the frieze-like Painting (For David Fernández Miró) / Peinture (Per a David Fernández Miró) (November 28, 1964). The colour blue in these and other works has often been read as alluding to the sky. Yet the artist himself associated blue with memories of the walls of farm houses in his native Catalonia, which had been splashed with blue vitriol wash.