Joan Miró, the waking dreamer

Aimé Maeght and Joan Miro at the Fondation Maeght, 1968
It is difficult to dissociate the name of Miró from that of Maeght. Even more than the other artists, Joan Miró was the close. "I knew Miró, in 1947, on the occasion of the exhibition of surrealism. Tristan Tzara brought him to my house so that I could publish Parler seul, illustrated with lithos by Miró. At that time, Pierre Loeb, his dealer since 1934, who had exhibited his wild period on the rue des Beaux-Arts, was ready to abandon his contract. So I took over and bought back his work from 1939." His first exhibition, where thirty-nine paintings and forty-nine ceramics were shown, took place in 1948. It was, of course, Tristan Tzara who signed the text of Derrière Le Miroir: "Joan Miró and the emerging questioning. From this first exhibition, Maeght represents him. The dealer and the artist will never leave each other. Rarely has an artist been, over such a long period, so inhabited by the same elementary mythology, the same light poetry, creating a strange and universal language. Throughout his work, Miró never ceased to invent, to discover, even attempting, at times, to murder his own creation. Thus, he allows himself to abandon his conquests to resume his path towards the unknown, beyond any pictorial aesthetic. Miró is both poet and explorer. When he painted the three blues, he tried to approach the beauty of the sky. Nothing more elementary, nothing more free.

Miró exhibition at the Maeght Gallery, rue Saint Merri, 1993
In 1953, the Catalan architect José Luis Sert built Miró's studio on the island of Majorca. During the first visit of the Maeght family to the Miró family in Palma, at the end of the 1950s, Aimé discovered the conception of an architecture at the service of an idea. In front of this building of great modernism, Aimé remembers being impressed by the Spanish pavilion of the Universal Exhibition of 1937 in Paris. In a building designed by José Luis Sert, the public discovered The Catalan Peasant in Revolt painted in situ by Miró and Guernica, a monumental painting by Picasso that faced the Fountain of Mercury by Calder. Sert will be the architect of the Fondation Maeght (1964), as he will be that of the Fondation Miró in Barcelona (1975). And we find in these places all the spirit of the Catalan master. In the Gallery as in the Foundation, the exhibitions follow one another, presenting paintings, sculptures, engravings, tapestries, ceramics and editions...
Joan Miró at the Fondation Maeght, 1971

Joan Miró, Gargoyle, 1968
Miró's appetite for any new medium is insatiable. Aimé supports him and puts all the technical means at his disposal. Every year he stays several months in Saint-Paul at the Maeght family. Aimé built workshops for engraving and ceramics, equipped with traditional Korean kilns. Miró feels at home there. As a tribute to the craftsmen and the equipment made available to him, he named the extraordinary press after his wife, "La Pilar". For the Catalan genius, Adrien also set up a studio in Paris dedicated to prints. Miró was, without a doubt, the most prolific of the engravers, possessing better than anyone else this intelligence and instinct of the craft. In total, more than one thousand five hundred titles of engravings and lithographs will come out of the Maeght presses including the unusual Adonides, a work born of complicity and harmony with his friend Prévert. The families, children and grandchildren of the poet, the painter and the Maeghts, meet every year in Saint-Paul.
Joan Miró making an original etching in the garden at Saint-Paul, 1973

Parler seul, bibliophile book by Joan Miro and Tristan Tzara published in 1948 by Maeght Editeur, Paris

Florence and Yoyo Maeght with Joan Miro at Mas Bernard, 1971

Yoyo Maeght and Joan Miró at the Fondation Maeght, July 1966
In the summer of 1968, while sailing off the coast of Cap d'Antibes, Miró immersed a monumental ceramic in homage to the Goddess of the Sea. In 1978, with his usual generosity, he donated two hundred and twenty recent drawings to three collections that were dear to him: the Fondation Marguerite et Aimé Maeght, the Centre Georges-Pompidou and the Fondation Miró, in Barcelona.
Aimé Maeght and Joan Miró during the immersion of the Goddess of the Sea off Antibes, 1968
In the summer of 1979, the Foundation devoted a retrospective to him to celebrate his eighty-fifth birthday. During the opening, his monumental stained glass window, the first by the artist, was unveiled on a covered terrace of the Foundation. In Miró's Labyrinth, La Claca, a Catalan troupe, performs Mori el Merma, an Ubuesque farce that Miró finds amusing. He applied himself to painting sets and costumes, a violent work, bursting with angry colors.

View of the show, Mori el Merma, a farce performed by the Catalan troupe, La Claca, with sets and costumes by Joan Miro, Fondation Maeght.

View of the show, Mori el Merma, a farce performed by the Catalan troupe, La Claca, with sets and costumes by Joan Miro, Fondation Maeght.

The last exhibition of his life is presented by Adrien in 1983, accompanied by a text by André Frénaud. The life of this enchanter is written like poetry. He died on Christmas Eve 1983.

"Joan Miró has, in his approach, something simple, true and natural, which must be found in his plastic fantasy and which certainly constitutes his charm. These sinuous lines, these floating forms, these vivid spots of color have nothing concerted: chance seems to have arranged them, but it is a happy, gracious chance in which it is impossible not to recognize an intention; there is a presence there, and a presence full of intelligence and kindness." Jean Cassou, Derrière Le Miroir, 1948.
Joan Miro, to Adrien Maeght, in homage to his work, May 12, 1965, oil pastel on paper, 37x28.5cm
"I think of Miró through the heavy earthquakes of the spirit that leave a thousand cracks after their passage without a single piece of the universe standing out formally. A rumbling wreck, a sculpted figure, a placid table no longer roll away, they are only crevices and fixed promises. I evoke Miró, inhabitant of the farm above, painting, engraving and working, flush with the fairy rock face. A cheerful painter stripped of his habits. On the sharp wheel of happiness he is the sower of indemnities and sparks. And in the folds of mourning he has beauties to revive Osiris. For a long time already, to this subtle showman, the celestial mechanics has shown its foliage, its labyrinth and its rides. And this April 12, 1961 I know Miró has an advantage. To do better than a meteor is not to do much when you don't burn. Miró flames, runs, gives us and flames." René Char, Derrière Le Miroir, 1961.
Joan Miró in his atelier, Barcelona, 1950

Joan Miró, For Aimé's 70th birthday, 1975, mixed media on paper, 61x42cm
"1950. One evening, on Avenida de Messina, Miró said to me: "We must take up ceramics again. Everyone is doing it and most of them are breaking their backs or rather not breaking anything at all. They just keep on painting, without worrying about the particularities of ceramics, the materials, the colors, the glazes, especially the nature and the spirit of this art. At most, in the field of forms, they have risked some deformations, without creating new forms. It is time to strike a blow. From now on we must think about preparing an exhibition of our ceramic work."" Josep Llorens Artigas, Behind the Mirror, 1956.

Joan Miró, Large figure in progress, 1956, ceramic

Josep Llorens Artigas, friend and ceramist of Joan Miro