Gouache-dessin (Gouache-Drawing)

Joan Miró

Barcelona, Spain, 1893 - Palma de Mallorca, Spain, 1983
  • Date: 
    1934 (August)
  • Technique: 
    Graphite and gouache on paper
  • Dimensions: 
    71 x 106,7 cm
  • Category: 
    Work on paper, Drawing
  • Entry date: 
  • Register number: 

In the late 1920s, Joan Miró’s work underwent a radical shift. He began questioning the practice of painting and seeking new forms of expression, which led to greater freedom of representation. As a result, between 1928 and 1932 his work was dominated by assemblages and collages of various materials, which the artist identified with what is known as the “assassination of painting”. This is also when Miró began producing works akin to Surrealism, the artistic current which would definitively mark his late body of work. But it was in the 1930s when his artistic vocabulary became firmly established, with its characteristic unique artistic code. Around 1934, there was another change in his style, with a series of pastels in which the vivid colours are modulated by more sombre tones complementing deformed figures with inflated organs. Because of their particular Expressionist nature, the pieces realised at this time stand out from other work of the same period. During this stage, the creation of paintings-drawings on sandpaper and gouaches-drawings became especially important, as well as pieces on tar paper which the artist called graffiti. This major group of works includes the Miró piece in question. This piece, Gouache-dessin (Gouache-Drawing, 1934), is highly representative of its period, as well as in the context of Miró’s entire body of work. Similar in spirit to the artist’s “wild paintings”, it combines his characteristic linear graphics with a number of powerful patches of colour. It also has some of the Expressionist feel of the “wild paintings” mentioned above and serves as a precursor of the message of anguish and desperation in the creations produced by Miró during the Spanish Civil War. In Gouache-dessin, fantastic looking figures share in the process of a metamorphosis which is about to take shape, represented especially by the formless masses which occupy the composition. At the same time, the deformed members of the figures seem to presage the emergence of beings that are even more monstrous.

Paloma Esteban Leal