Galerie Michael is pleased to present a carefully curated selection of our most exclusive, museum quality works. As the year comes to a close, our team has chosen this select number of masterpieces—arranged by respective artists—to showcase the gallery’s “best ofs.” Galerie Michael is committed to providing our clients with fine art of the highest quality, and we invite you to admire this group of our most extraordinary compositions.

Le Pitre Rose, 1974 • Joan MIRÓ (1893-1983)

Joan MIRÓ (1893-1983)
Le Pitre Rose, 1974

Color etching and aquatint with carborundumon Arches paper
Signed and numbered “4/50” in pencil
From the edition of 50 copies pulled on Arches paper, numbered and signed. Published by Maeght, Paris. Printed by Morsang, Paris.
54 x 37 1/2 in. (137.2 x 95.3 cm)
Framed dimensions: 70 1/2 x 52 1/2 in.
Dupin653
915045

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 I am neither a printmaker nor a painter, but someone who tries to express himself with all of the means he has available.
—JoanMiró 

Le Pitre Rose (1974), or The Pink Clown, by master artist Joan Miró is an exceptional, large-scale work composed of a bold juxtaposition between powerful black lines and vibrant colors. The black lines that dominate the piece form relatively familiar shapes evocative of celestial and earthly figures. The most widely celebrated work from Miró’s vast oeuvre is that which features abstract shapes and forms—a unique style which characterizes the renowned artist’s legacy as an innovator and creator of new visual languages. Here, Miró includes various shapes reminiscent of stars, perhaps alluding to cosmic themes. However, the title of the piece is an obvious indication of its primary subject, a clown. While Miró’s work is not popularly associated with circus themes, he, like many of his contemporaries, was fascinated by the circus. Various members of the Paris avant-garde movement including Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse, celebrated this whimsical form of entertainment in their work—often featuringtrapeze artists and clowns as symbols of themselves and their personal experiences.

In The Pink Clown, Miró communicates his vision of a circus clown in a highly abstracted manner. His unique vision stands out among the circus scenes of his contemporaries, as he leaves much to be interpreted by viewers. Accordingly, Miró frequently described his circus images as dreamscapes and also emblems of his burgeoning relationship with the Surrealists. In many ways, The Pink Clown embodies a certain sense of humor with its wild splotches of color—canary yellow, candy apple red, azure, emerald green, royal purple and chestnut—which often overlap many times over. Despite their close proximity to one another, each color commands independence and dazzles viewers with its respective singularity, as well as in unison. The Pink Clown survives as a brilliant display of Miró’s unparalleled use of color, mastery of symbolism and newly acquired artistic dynamism during this period of his career. 

Centennaire pour L’Imprimerie Mourlot, 1953 • Joan MIRÓ (1893-1983)

Joan MIRÓ (1893-1983)
Centennaire pour L’Imprimerie Mourlot, 1953

Color lithograph on Arches wove paper
Signed and numbered “23/75” in pencil
Lithograph published for the centenary of the Impremerie Mourlot. From the edition of 75, signed and numbered. Printed and published by Mourlot, Paris.
Mourlot 190
19 7/8 x 26 inches (50.5 x 66 cm)
915637 

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 Centennaire pour L’Imprimerie Mourlot (1953), or “Centenary for Mourlot Printing” by master artist Joan Miró survives as a celebratory piece, marking the one hundredth anniversary of the Mourlot print shop. Founded in 1852 by the Mourlot Family in Paris, the print shop originally produced wallpaper and chocolate wrappers. However, when Fernand Mourlot (the grandson of the original founder) took control of the company in the 1920s, he ordered one of the printing buildings to be converted into a lithography studio. From then on, the pristine new Paris print shop began to attract many of the 20th century masters—including Joan Miró, Pablo Picasso and Marc Chagall. Miró, a close friend of Fernand, began to closely work with the famed studio after World War II. There, the artist produced a number of playful and colorful abstract compositions—coveted works that remain highly sought-after by museums and collectors worldwide. 

Of the body of work produced during Miró’s time in the Mourlot print shop, Centenary for Mourlot Printing exists as an expression of gratitude for the studio and Mourlot family. The piece incorporates the classic, instantly recognizable iconography of Miró’s most famous works—abstract shapes, unidentified objects and heavy use of primary colors. Centenary for Mourlot Printing features all of the imagery that solidified the artist’s place in the history of art, and it continues to be admired by contemporary viewers far and wide. 

Centenary for Mourlot Printing flawlessly captures Miro’s stylistic trademark of contrasting linear configurations with substantial blotches of colour to create imaginary landscapes. These so-called imaginary landscapes once gave light to a new style of art—abstract dipped in Surrealist fantasy. This piece is a brilliantly versatile composition that may appear to the unsuspecting viewer as random and without intention, but ultimately conveys Miro’s struggle between his own fanciful vision of the world and a perceived harshness of the human condition. The artist explains his process: 

Forms take reality for me as I work. In other words, rather than setting out to paint something, I begin painting and as I paint the picture begins to assert itself, or suggest itself under my brush. The form becomes a sign for a woman or a bird as I work. 

Here, the artist’s inclusion of a large red circle pictured near the top right of the composition, is especially noteworthy. Miro consistently includes this figure in much of his work and discusses his use of the form: 

There are three forms which have become obsessions — a red circle, the moon and a star. They keep coming back, each time slightly different. But for me it is always a story of recovering. 

While no identifiable moon is shown in Centenary for Mourlot Printing, the artist does additionally include a star pictured on middle right of the piece, under the burning red circle. Miró’s incorporation of these motifs suggests the composition to hold a certain, personal significance for the artist—consistent with his deep love for the Mourlot print shop. As a whole, Centenary for Mourlot Printing is not only a celebration of the studio, but an emotional project inspired by Miró’s body of work produced by the print shop. Galerie Michael is pleased to present this new acquisition, a masterpiece suited to enhance a private museum quality collection.

Femme au Miroir, 1956 • Joan MIRÓ (1893-1983)

Joan MIRÓ (1893-1983)
Femme au Miroir, 1956

Color lithograph on wove paper
Signed, dated and numbered “74/150” in pencil
A rare, fresh impression of Miró’s most important lithograph, from the edition of 150 copies, signed and numbered. Made to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the magazine ”Derrière le miroir”, which included illustrations by Chagall, Miró, Bazaine, Giacometti and Ubac. Text by Georges Limbour. Printed by Mourlot, Paris. Published by Maeght, Paris. Aside from the book edition and without central fold.
15 7/8 x 22 1/8 in. (40.3 x 56.2 cm)
Framed dimensions: 31 5/16 x 37 in.
Maeght 242
914942

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 For me, a form is never something abstract; it is always a sign of something. It is always a man, a bird, or something. For me painting is never form for form’s sake.
—Joan Miró

Femme au Miroir (1956) survives as one of master artist, Joan Miró’s, most significant and symphonic works. The piece remains the quintessential example of Miró’s brilliant use of primary colors and bold forms. In Femme au Miroir, the artist embraces his unique stylistic choices and conveys a certain childlike quality while demonstrating his grasp of various printing techniques. Here, Miró breaks free of convention and defines his own artistic narrative. Miró’s inventive and iconic style is best described by Ferrand Mourlotin Joan Miró Lithographs Volume I (1972), 

The pitch-black background of Femme au Miroircreates a striking contrast with the vibrant shapes and symbols that dominate the foreground. In Miró’s work from this period, the color black is widely accepted to symbolize earthly qualities such as rebirth and fertility. In consideration of this, the main area of action in Femme au Miroiroccurs around the central-axis of the composition—an abstract figure reminiscent of a bird towards the left, and its opposite: a large, red oval that recalls the shape of an egg encased in a black box. These motifs are enclosed in a stylized blue rectangle that, in many ways, appears to represent a body of water. However, blue is also widely regarded as a symbol of spiritual purity and the cosmic night, perhaps suggesting that Miró’s rectangle represents purity or the night sky. 

Arguably, the most striking colors within the blue rectangle are red and black. However, while red, the color of passion, strength, romance and excitement largely commands the piece, Miró includes touches of soft green, yellow and white—primarily used to color the peculiar, amphibious creatures which lurk around the perimeter of the enclosed area. Accordingly,yellow and green occupy a rather optimistic space in Miró’s oeuvre and represent nature, the vivacity of life, sunshine and enlightenment. Although Miró’s use of color is of great importance to understanding the profound symbolism that characterizes much of his work, the true meaning of Femme au Miroircannot be revealed through summary and rather, must be felt. The artist’s sensitivity to detail and faculty of observation (and adaptation) in Femme au Miroirultimately captures the beauty of art itself—providing viewers with the space to interpret it however they wish. 

Femme au Miroir belongs to Miró’s post-war work, which revealed his shifting focus towards subjects such as birds and the moon—motifs which would dominate his artistic iconography for the remainder of his career. During the latter part of his life, the artist’s whimsical use of color and free play with form exemplify the bold stylistic choices that ultimately shaped his legacy. As demonstrated by Femme au Miroir, Miró invented a new kind of pictorial space adorned with objects of the artist’s imagination rendered in basic, often recognizable forms. Furthermore, the exclusivity of his palette during this time was risky,but intended to highlight the vibrant, expressive hues with which he worked—a technique that continues to be admired by contemporary viewers across the globe. Galerie Michael is thrilled to present Femme au Miroir, a masterpiece worthy of a private museum quality collection, to collectors worldwide.