Els gossos IV, 1979
Etching in colors on Arches paper
28-3/4 x 45-1/2 inches (73.0 x 115.6 cm) (sheet)
Ed. 30/30 (there were also 15 in Roman numerals)
Signed lower right and numbered in pencil lower left
Published by Maeght Edituer, Paris
Printed by Joan Barbara, Barcelona
Miro’s printed body of work reached its highest point in late 1960s, after the artist was introduced to carborundum (silicon carbide engraving) technique in 1967. This innovative process is actually an advanced etching technique, which requires the use of an abrasive ground (carborundum) added to the etching plate to create a granulated or textured surface.
Joan Miro found that by combining this new technique with other etching methods, especially aquatint, he could create images to rival any painting, thereby elevating the art of printmaking above mere reproduction. Carborundum prints created from 1967 through 1969 set an unprecedented standard for quality and set the ground for a fruitful printmaking period in Joan Miro’s career.
Museum of Modern Art in New York recognized the progressive nature of this specific series of carborundum prints, dedicating an entire exhibition to them in 1970, titled Joan Miro: Fifty Recent Prints.
Born in Spain in 1893 in a family of craftsmen, Miro was almost predetermined to become an artist. His initial artistic education in Barcelona preceded the big move to Paris the 26-year-old artist undertook in 1919. Life in Paris was difficult for artists at the time, but these hard times might have influenced the young painter’s imagination and pushed him towards invention of the visual language known to wide audiences today.
It was in Paris, where Joan Miro befriended Andre Breton, hence the association with the Surrealist group, even though the artist never officially joined the group. He had staged a solo exhibition in the early 1920s and had participated in group displays, but success seemed to have omitted Miro in his early years. Nevertheless, his career started to flourish during the 1930s, introducing a prolific period that lasted until his death.
Playful, filled with movement and color, linear, even childish are some of the first associations arisen from contemplation of Joan Miro’s art. Right from the beginning, he abandoned the traditions of painting and started creating works driven with pure energy and “fire of the soul”, all executed with great care and perfectionism. A pioneer of Automatism, Miro explored the depths of human mind through art, using color and form to describe imaginary shapes he invented. His compositions are delicate, elaborate and filled with various abstract and associative elements, featuring motifs such as eyes, insectoid creatures, birds, and the frail moon. Miro’s poetic style is highly recognizable and praised throughout the history of art and it had notable influence on Abstract Expressionism and the Color Field Painting in the post-war period.
Joan Miro died in Palma de Mallorca, Spain in 1983.