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© Joan Miró / Artist Rights Society (ARS), New York, NY.

Joan Miró: Etchings

In 1938, the Surrealist Joan Miró met the master printer Louis Marcoussis and quickly became enamored by etching, an intaglio technique of incising a design onto a metal plate. When travel pulled Miró away from Marcoussis’s studio, he sent him letters about his budding interests in the medium. “My dear friend,” he wrote, “I am in this beautiful country for a few days and am always thinking about this exciting technique of etching, which I will take up again as soon as I return, following your precious counsel.” Miró’s early etchings, produced during the turmoil of the Spanish Civil War, often explored a tension between darkness and color, incorporating different techniques such as aquatint and drypoint to heighten these contrasts. In 1967, Miró’s etching practice hit another breakthrough when he discovered that carborundum, an abrasive mineral, could give his prints even more depth and texture. These late carborundum prints are some of Miró’s most desirable etchings on the market, often selling in the high five-figure range at auction.

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