Joan Miró, ‘Femmes dans la nuit’, 1977, Opera Gallery

Alongside Juan Gris and Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró was foremost among a great generation of Spanish artists whose innovations were key to the development of modernist painting. Miró is most closely associated with the Surrealist movement, though it is notable that he never formally joined the group, led by André Breton, for fear that it might constrain his impulses to innovate and experiment. His most important works explores the world of the unconscious, prioritising dreamlike symbolism over rational representation.
Among his legacies is the use of "automatic drawing", of which he was among the first and arguably greatest practitioners, a means of freeing expressive gesture from the strictness of cogent thought.
The calligraphic nature of Femmes dans la nuit, a late pastel and pencil on board creation, indicates the vivid biomorphic imagery for which Miró was renowned. The rounded shapes of women sprawled in undulating hues of colour symbolize the playful movement of the moment in which the women are captured, seemingly caught in that whirlwind of jubilance that takes place in the body while enraptured in dance.

Signature: Signed ‘Miró’ (lower right); dated and titled ’14 IV/77 Femmes dans la nuit’ (on the reverse) Jacques Dupin from ADOM (Association pour la défense de l’œuvre de Joan Miró) has confirmed the authenticity of this work Joan Punjet Miró has confirmed the authenticity of this work

This work will be reproduced in the Catálogo razonado de dibujos being prepared by the Successió Miro

Galeria Mayoral, Barcelona

Weinstein Gallery, San Francisco

Sale: Christie’s, New York, 4 Nov. 2009, lot 154

Private collection, London

About Joan Miró

Joan Miró rejected the constraints of traditional painting, creating works “conceived with fire in the soul but executed with clinical coolness,” as he once said. Widely considered one of the leading Surrealists, though never officially part of the group, Miró pioneered a wandering linear style of Automatism—a method of “random” drawing that attempted to express the inner workings of the human psyche. Miró used color and form in a symbolic rather than literal manner, his intricate compositions combining abstract elements with recurring motifs like birds, eyes, and the moon. “I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music,” he said. While he prized artistic freedom, Miró revered art history, basing a series of works on the Dutch Baroque interiors of Hendrick Sorgh and Jan Steen. In turn, Miró has inspired many artists—significantly Arshile Gorky, whose bold linear abstractions proved a foundational influence on Abstract Expressionism.

Spanish, 1893-1983, Barcelona, Spain, based in Paris and Catalonia, Spain