Search for over 80 million sold items in our price database

Femme rêvant de l'évasion
Sold

About the item

In August 1946 the New York dealer Pierre Matisse wrote in a letter to Miró: ‘I need more than ever those canvases in order to complete your exhibition, which I want to do as soon as possible’ (quoted in Pierre Matisse and his Artists (exhibition catalogue), The Pierpont Morgan Library, New York, 2002, p. 209, translated from French). Among these canvases was a group of five large-scale oils, including the present work, which Miró had executed between the end of January and late February 1945. Matisse was keen to demonstrate to the American public the lively state of painting in Europe in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, and probably deemed this group of large oils to be among the most energetic and life-affirming works coming from Europe. Femme rêvant de l’évasion is the only work from this exceptional group of paintings still in private hands, as the others are now in major international museums (figs. 1-3). The series culminated in several monumental oils executed in March and April of that year, such as Femme dans la nuit (fig. 4), now in the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York.\n\nWriting about Miró’s works from 1945, Jacques Dupin observed: ‘The intimism of Miró’s entire production from 1939 on, and the invention of a new language which it made possible, lead to a magnificent series of large canvases painted in 1945, which are among the best-known and most frequently reproduced of all his works. They contributed greatly to Miró’s celebrity. Apart from two with black grounds, these works all have more or less uniformly light grounds, gray-white, blue-white, or blue. […] The space is taken up with big figures, birds, stars, and signs […]. Most of the figures are drawn in uniformly thin lines, with all the elegance we expect of Miró’s arabesque. Areas of pure color set off certain details or parts – legs, arms, or bust, but more often certain chosen elements by this means take on the value of signs – the eye, the female sexual organ, the foot. These canvases are thus fertile in ambiguity, for they may be read in two different ways. We may isolate figures and define them by their contours, their black or colored portions, their amplified details, in a space populated by signs and stars; but we may also read the painting in an over-all sense, grasping it as a rhythmic, chromatic ensemble in which all the accentuated elements – signs, stars, or attributes of figures – call to and answer one another. Actually, we read these works in both senses simultaneously’ (J. Dupin, op. cit., 1962, pp. 378-379).\n\nTreating the themes of ‘woman in the night’ – sometimes accompanied by a bird – and ‘woman dreaming of escape’, the present work and its companion pieces are executed on white background, against which a mysterious spectacle seems to be taking place. Femme rêvant de l’évasion is executed in a highly stylised and abstract manner, using the vocabulary of signs that Miró’s developed a few years earlier in his celebrated Constellations series. A woman dominates the composition, surrounded by Miró’s signature star, spots and lines. Above her head, an abstract black form is reminiscent of a ladder, which she might be dreaming of as her means of escape into a different world. Despite its large format, the image is rendered with a precision and elegance characteristic of Miró’s best works, and it is the contrast between the meticulous use of line and the larger areas of solid colour that give the composition its dynamic quality. The clarity and spontaneity visible in the present work herald the new style that would define Miró’s post-war production.\n\nThe present work exemplifies the expressive power of images, even though they bear no faithful resemblance to the natural world. Miró is solely reliant upon the pictorial lexicon of signs and symbols that he had developed over the years. In fact, it was these compositions from the mid-1940s that would inspire the creative production of the Abstract Expressionist artists in New York. A few years after he executed this work, the artist offered creative advice to young painters, and his comments are an insight into the underlying motivations that inspired the present work: ‘He who wants to really achieve something has to flee from things that are easy and pay no attention to […] artistic bureaucracy, which is completely lacking in spiritual concerns. What is more absurd than killing yourself to copy a highlight on a bottle?  If that was all painting was about, it wouldn’t be worth the effort’ (quoted in Margit Rowell, Joan Miró, Selected Writings and Interviews, Boston, 1986, p. 226).\n\nA technique of primary importance in this painting is Miró’s expressive and exquisite use of line. Overall, his remarkable visual vocabulary strikes a perfect balance between abstraction and image-signs. His pictures from the mid-1940s are characterised by a sense of energy and movement, there is never a sense of stasis. Moreover, each work is the result of active and ongoing improvisation that renders a precise interpretation impossible. But by the 1940s Miró heightened his audience’s engagement with his art by giving his pictures poetic titles. The artist had experimented with incorporating poetry or lyrical text into his pictures in the late 1920s, but then largely rejected the use of highly descriptive titles over the following decade. His return to using language as a didactic tool was a major shift in his art in the 1940s, and in the present work, the fanciful title adds a narrative dimension to this lively composition. \nSigned Miró, titled and dated 1.2.1945 on the reverse
GB
GB
GB

medium

Oil on canvas

creator

Joan Miró

dimensions

146 by 114cm.

exhibition

New York, Pierre Matisse Gallery, Joan Miró, 1947, no. 22, illustrated in the catalogue

literature

Jacques Dupin, Joan Miró, Life and Work, New York, 1962, no. 644, illustrated p. 549 Jacques Dupin & Ariane Lelong-Mainaud, Joan Miró, Catalogue Raisonné. Paintings, Paris, 2001, vol. III, no. 744, illustrated in colour p. 68

provenance

Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York Acquired from the above by the present owners in 1964

signedDate

Signed Miró, titled and dated 1.2.1945 on the reverse

time_period

Painted on 1st February 1945.

consignmentDesignation

Property from the Collection of Miriam and Ira D. Wallach

creator_nationality_dates

1893 - 1983


*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.

*Note: The price is not recalculated to the current value. It refers to the actual final price at the time the item was sold.


Advert
Advert

Sold items

Les femmes d'Alger (Version 'O')
Sold

Les femmes d'Alger (Version 'O')

Realized Price
179,365,000 USD

Buste de femme (Femme à la résille)
Sold

Buste de femme (Femme à la résille)

Realized Price
67,365,000 USD

Femme assise
Sold

Femme assise

Realized Price
62,653,512 USD

Femme aux bras croisés
Sold

Femme aux bras croisés

Realized Price
55,006,000 USD

Femme assise près d'une fenêtre
Sold

Femme assise près d'une fenêtre

Realized Price
45,332,981 USD

Femme assise, robe bleue
Sold

Femme assise, robe bleue

Realized Price
45,047,500 USD

Femme écrivant (Marie-Thérèse)
Sold

Femme écrivant (Marie-Thérèse)

Realized Price
44,896,995 USD

Tête de femme
Sold

Tête de femme

Realized Price
39,925,000 USD

ÉTUDE POUR 'LA FEMME EN BLEU'
Sold

ÉTUDE POUR 'LA FEMME EN BLEU'

Realized Price
39,241,000 USD