An artist who defined himself as an international Catalan, thus never really having left his native land (in spite of the years spent in Paris), Joan Miró (1893 - 1983) was a master printmaker with a poetic style that first drew inspiration from the surrealistic obsession with subconscious automatismes, seeking to recover a "childlike spirit" through his extreme graphic reduction of signs and figures. *
His graphic œuvre began taking form in France during the late 1930s, when he learned lithography from his friend Georges Braque and copperplate printmaking from Louis Marcoussis; he further explored drypoint, aquatint and etching with Stanley William Hayter, developing a variety of original texturing techniques that he would use for years with endless creative freedom.
As he once told Jacques Dupin:
"For me [printmaking] is a major means of expression... It has been a means of liberation, expansion, and discovery. Even though, at the beginning, I was a prisoner of its constraints, its 'cuisine', its traditional tools and recipes. I had to resist them, to extend them; and then an immense field of possibilities opened up to the eye and hand... The despotism of the tool was gradually vanquished. I can use an etching needle or a burin, but also my finger, my hand, a nail or an old screwdriver. Likewise, I was able to free myself from the papers normally used and i had proofs pulled on the most unusual papers"
- in Jacques Dupin, Miró Graveur, Tome 1, Paris, 1984, page 7
* André Breton, who
called Miró "le
plus surréaliste de nous tous",
referred to his artistic production as having an innocence and a
freedom that have never been surpassed, but deplored his childlike
spirit as a "certain
arrêt de la personnalité au stade enfantin" (in Le Surréalisme et la peinture, genèse et
perspective artistique du surréalisme, 1941).
Dupin 687-706 1974, see Cramer 187
drypoint and aquatint in colors with additional etching, 1974, on Arches wove paper, two trial proofs with variants, and two BAT (Bon à tirer) proofs, printed to the sheet edges of the keyplate, before the Maeght edition of 200 (D691, shown left here)
Jacques Dupin (1927-2012) was a renowned French poet (who won the Grand Prix national de Poésie in 1988) and an intimate friend of Miró's. He is furthermore the author of the catalogue raisonné of Miró's prints
The 1974 Maeght edition comprised 11 prints to accompany Dupin's poem, L'Issue Dérobée.