Joan Miró (Barcelona, 1893 - Palma de Mallorca, 1983), one of the most important artists in the history of twentieth century Spanish art, is represented with over four hundred works from the State Collection of Spain. Due to the promulgation of the Cultural Heritage Law in Spain in 1985, the State has been able to incorporate a large number of the Catalan artist's works into its collection that were previously absent. Besides the works donated by the artist's widow, Doña Pilar Juncosa, or by Joan Miró himself or his heirs, the State has incorporated the remaining works assembled in their collection through: direct acquisitions, payments by means of inheritance rights or Income Tax, all of which can be added to donations by Margerite and Aimé Maeght and the Maeght gallery in Barcelona. In total: forty paintings, seventeen drawings, forty-three sculptures, over three hundred etchings and eighteen artist books.
To date the state collection does not contain works prior to 1937, apart from the work conceived on cardboard for the tapestry Caracol, mujer, flor y estrella (1934), an essential part of Miró's biomorphic period. The works that stand out among the forty paintings comprising this collection are Retrato II (1938), for its radical transformation when compared to his previous work, Libélula de alas rojas persiguiendo a una serpiente que se desliza en espiral hasta la estrella cometa (1941), donated by the artist's widow to the Museo del Prado collection as well as Pájaro en el espacio y Pájaro en el espacio II (1965), the large canvases Mujer entrando en trance por la huída de las estrellas fugaces (1969) and Paisaje (1974).
The aim of the exhibition is to show his paintings, sculptures, drawings in their entirety as well as a selection of the etchings and artist books. Thus these works tell the story of how between 1954 and 1959 Miró decides to abandon painting on canvas in favour of ceramics, etchings, lithographs and monumental works, which he uses to resolve spatial issues that would later be seen in his pictorial work. The acquired technical dexterity and the enormous range of possibilities of the artist's graphic work can bee seen in certain pieces displayed in the exhibition, for instance Polifemo (1968) and El ciclo del herrero (1964), which, through collage, reflect a new tactile dimension, or Los dos amigos and El exiliado negro (1969) where he employs carborundum.
For Miró etchings were a source of liberation and discovery and in his final years he approaches the creation of his graphic work with great freedom. Among the last twenty, practically unknown, etchings realised in 1981 and displayed in this exhibition, La vendedora de colores and the series Allegro vivace stand out for exuding a kind of freshness and vitality.
The sculptures displayed form part of a phase defining the artist's maturity and can be distinguished by, on one side, the bronze sculptures such as Torso de mujer y Mujer y pájaro (1968) and, on the other, those made with daily objects, for example Reloj del viento, made by putting a spoon through a hat box from the shop of friend Joan Prats. The exhibition also features thirteen preeminent sculptures, created between 1981 and 1983, from the artist's last exhibition held in the Maeght Gallery.