Understanding (Mavena) (SOLD)

Joan Miró

340 x 280

Joan Miró

Combining Abstract Art with Surrealism, Joan Miró’s oeuvre is internationally respected. Born April 20, 1893, in Barcelona, Spain, Joan Miró Ferra was exposed to art at an early age through his watchmaker father. At the age of 14, he went to business school in Barcelona while also attending La Lonja’s Escuela Superior de Artes Industriales y Bellas Artes. Choosing business over art, he took a position as a clerk but later suffered a nervous breakdown. Abandoning business, he resumed his art studies and attended Francesc Galí’s Escola d’Art in Barcelona from 1912 to 1915. Receiving early encouragement from the dealer José Dalmau, Miró’s first show occurred at his gallery in 1918 where his work was ridiculed and defaced. His works during this time reflected the influence of Fauvism and folkloric Catalan art as is seen in Chapel of Sant Joan d’Horta (1917), but he was also drawn to Cubism and Surrealism.

Those artistic interests led Miró to move to Paris in 1920, but he continued to spend his summers in Catalonia. In Paris, Miró met Pablo Picasso, and other important emerging artists and poets, encircling himself with creative types. Dalmau organized Miró’s first solo show in Paris, at the Galerie la Licorne in 1921 and his work was included in the Salon d’Automne of 1923. Strongly symbolic and poetic in nature, Miró’s art fit well within the context of the dream-like erratic tendencies espoused by Surrealism and in 1924 he joined the Surrealist group, though always remained on the periphery of Surrealism. Such works included Catalan Landscape (The Hunter) (1923) and the Tilled Field (1924).

This is around the time Miró began to develop an antagonistic attitude towards painting and started to explore other techniques and mediums. In 1926, while collaborating with Max Ernst on designs for a ballet they pioneered the technique of grattage, in which pigment is troweled onto the canvas and in 1928 Miró began executing his first papiers collés and collages. During the early 1930s, Miró would delve into sculpture, incorporating painted stones and found objects into his three-dimensional works. This was also the time when he started his experiments in lithography, and his first etchings date to 1933, both mediums of which would comprise a majority of his oeuvre.

View Joan Miró available work here: View Work

Original lithograph in colours with stencil and transfer on unique hand-made ‘flower’ paper which is an essential element of the composition.


Signed in pencil.

Inscribed as ‘H.C.’ (‘Hors Commerce’ – ‘Not for Sale’).

Numbered from the group of 20 special issue proofs.

Drawn and printed at the Atelier Mourlot, Paris 1960.

Note: One of the smaller-scale but very special gems of Miró’s work in lithography at the beginning of the 1960’s and exceptional in Miro’s choice of a special hand-made soft Japan paper in which flower stems, leaves and petals became integral to the paper in the hand mixing of the pulp for the mould at the Moulin Richard de Bas paper-makers. Each sheet is unique in the way the flower elements occur in the sheet. Beautiful hand-printed impression with excellent colours on the special ‘flower’ random-tone pale cream japon-nacré paper.

Excellent condition, Sheet surface excellent and complete with the deckle edges. Drawn to full sheet size, as issued. Sheet: 340 x 280mm.

Miró wanted to incorporate the element of random chance, which was always central to surrealist art, with his own compositional creativity through the use of the wonderful paper. Published under the auspices of ‘Editions Surréalistes’ it is one of the most poetically beautiful of his literature-linked works of the early 60’s. The image was inspired by the writing of the Croatian poet Radovan Ivsic and issued in a special album of his poetry under the title ‘Mavena’ which comes from a Yiddish word meaning understanding. Ivsic, born in Croatia in 1922, was an inspired literary libertarian and a close friend of Breton and of Tzara. He became a central figure in the continuation of the ideas of Surrealism in the just post-war years. It was in this circle that he met Miró. The ‘Mavena’ album was issued in a total edition of 95 but it is the few special ‘Hors Commerce’ – ‘Not for Sale’ proofs on the ‘flower paper’ which have a really special poetry.

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