Monaco & Münster: Miró twice, cheerfulness twice


Two Miró exhibitions are expected to delight art fans this autumn: in Monaco you will see paintings, sculptures and drawings by the Catalan artist until 25 October. Until the end of January 2021, Miró graphics will be shown in the Picasso Museum in Münster, Westphalia, which have never been framed or exhibited before.

Miró in the Principality
In cooperation with the Foundation of the Prince, the Nouveau Musée National de Monaco (NMNM) is presenting the exhibition Mir, La Peinture au défi at Villa Paloma for a good four weeks. Miró grandson Joan Punyet Miró has selected more than 50 paintings, three sculptures and a selection of collages and drawings together with Joan Miró Estate and Gmurzynska Gallery, Successió Miró and Fundación Mapfre. The works cover the entire creative period of the artist.

The show includes stage designs and costumes designed by Miró in 1932 for the Compagnie des Ballets Russes de Monte-Carlo, as well as the radical, lesser-known works of the 1960s and 1970s. The exhibition highlights the artist‘s untiring persistence in the reinvention of his painting style.

Yesterday Thursday, a work of the painter, made available by grandson Joan Punyet Mir, was auctioned for the benefit of Prince Albert II’s Foundation on the occasion of the Monte-Carlo Gala for Planetary Health, which this year was dedicated to the oceans, the earth and humanity.

Miró at the Picasso Museum in North Rhine-Westphalia

The Catalan artist Joan Miro (1893-1983), who created the 250-part plastic and ceramic group Labyrinth for the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence between 1961 and 1981, has given his business card for the second time in North Rhine-Westphalia shortly in a row. 2019 temporarily with tons of heavy works in the Wuppertal art park Waldfrieden (we reported) and now permanently in Münster. There, the only German Picasso Museum received a collection of 70 high-quality works of paintings by the Spanish painter to celebrate his 20th anniversary. All works come from the Paris Gallery Maeght, which Miró had been under contract since 1948.

Museum director Markus Müller found the costly gift of the regional savings bank association (The singer‘s courtesy is silent about the purchase price) to be extremely relationship. After Henri Matisse, Georges Braque and Marc Chagall, this is another close friend of Pablo’s Picasso — and there were not many of them — in our collections.

According to Müller‘s data, Miró’s new acquisition covers 45 years of work. Early etchings from 1938 are the beginning, the last painting was taken one year before the artist‘s death. The collection mainly includes large sizes. In addition, there are 14 photographs taken by Swiss photographer Ernst Scheidegger of the working artist in his various studios.

Also part of the collection is a historically interesting original manuscript by Miró, which Müller described as the most cheerful representative of classical modernism. The autograph is a letter written by the young man to his art dealer in 1921 on the occasion of his first solo exhibition in Paris in the spring of 1921.

The Miró graphics, which had never been framed or exhibited before, are now on display in Münster for the first time (until 31 January 2021). The two artist grandsons Joan Punyet Miró and Olivier Picasso, who both wanted to appear in the old provincial capital on the occasion of the museum’s birthday in order to congratulate the museum on the big litter, had to confine themselves to video messages in the face of the impending second wave of corona.

Picasso and Miró met in 1920 in the then art metropolis Paris, where Picasso opened many doors to his twelve years younger compatriot.

Like Picasso, Miró of Paris had fought with artistic means against Franco fascism, and alongside Picasso‘s Guernica and Calder’s Mercury Fountain exhibited his monumental painting The Reaper, which is now considered to be lost. He had also designed a poster for the exhibition entitled Aidez l‘Espagne. In 1940, one year after the end of the lost civil war and immediately after the occupation of France by German troops, he returned from French exile to his Spanish homeland.

Since the death of his half-siblings and a serious illness of his brother Teo, Joan Punyet has been the sole manager of his grandfather’s estate in the Miró Foundation in Barcelona and the Successió in Palma de Mallorca, where his famous ancestor spent the last 27 years of his lifeand left around 2000 oil paintings, 500 sculptures, 400 ceramics and 500 collages and drawings at his death.

Sometimes he took a chicken leg after table, sometimes a tablecloth from a restaurant, a hand soap holder or any other apparent banality, he tells the RZ. But it was precisely the things of everyday life that inspired him again and again, and through him they became a work of art. Grandson Joan literally: If someone takes a stone in his hand, he remains a stone. When Miró picked up a stone, the stone mutated to Miró.

Today the grandson did not make a murderer pit out of his heart. He frankly portrays how difficult it is for him to unfold in the shadow of his world-famous grandfather. He is simply a giant, and as a descendant he has always been judged by his work, that is, particularly critical. To swim freely and find self-confidence, it took years of psychotherapy.

Joan Punyet‘s mother Dolores Miró Juncosa, the only daughter of Joan Miró, a native of Barcelona and Pilar Juncosa, was married twice. His first marriage to David Fernández, who died in a fatal accident, resulted in his half-brothers David and Emili, who also died early. He came from his second marriage to Teodor Punyet and his mentally severely ill brother Teo. The four siblings together founded the Successió and inventoried the grandfather’s estate. Sculpture expert Emili held a leading role in the Miró Erben Foundation. However, he had rarely performed publicly and had left the role of speaker of the family to his extroverted stepbrother Joan Punyet.

By the way: Catalan architect Josep Lluís Sert, who fled to exile North America after the Franco coup, fulfilled Miró‘s dream of a spacious studio in Mallorca in 1956. Miró, a close friend of the art collectors Aimé and Marguerite Maeght, recommended his fellow countryman for the construction of the Fondation Maeght in Saint-Paul-de-Vence. There, the artist also discovered stained glass for himself. In 1979, he created a double-horizontal window for the Fondation, measuring two by seven meters.

Miró’s house in Mallorca has been home to the museum of the Pilar Foundation and Joan Miró Foundation since 1992. The Carrier of the Picasso Museum in Münster is the Westphalian-Lippische Sparkassen- und Giroverband.

Rolf Liffers