Catalan painter, sculptor, and ceramicist Joan Miró (1893-1983) is perhaps best known for his Surrealist sculptures and activity with the anarchic Dada art movement. After his first major museum retrospective at New York's MOMA in 1941, Miró was catapulted into the art world stratosphere, ending up on many contemporary art collectors' wishlists. In the past decade, Miro's art has consistently broken new ground at auction, as evidenced by the $37 million paid for his 1927 "Peinture (Etoile Bleue)" at Sotheby's in London in 2012. As of 2015, more than seventeen Miró artworks had sold for more than $10 million each at auction.
In 1958, the artist spoke to Parisian critic Yvon Taillandier about his life and work, and that conversation was published in a French limited edition of seventy-five copies in 1964. Now, Princeton Architectural Press is releasing a new English translation of the book on October 10. The updated volume includes Taillander's original introduction and a new preface by Miró scholar and NYU professor Robert Lubar. The appendix contains the full original French text.
The English text reads smoothly, if some sections of Miró's musings are hard to follow for those unfamiliar with Surrealism: "...to become truly a man, it's necessary to become detached from one's false self. In my case, I must stop being Miró, that is, a Spanish painter belonging to a society limited by frontiers, by social and bureaucratic conventions. In other words, we must move toward anonymity." The sections where Miró talks about inspiration and his work process, however, are fascinating and insightful.
Complete with ten color illustrations, this eighty-page volume is a tiny treasure trove of firsthand insight into Miró's process and provides a tantalizing window into the experience and purpose of creating art.
Joan Miró: I Work Like a Gardener, by Joan Miró, Yvon Taillandier, Robert Lubar; Princeton Architectural Press, $19.95, 80 pages, available October 10, 2017.