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Joan Miro


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STEPHAN VON WIESE is curator of modern art at the Museum Kunst Palast in Dusseldorf, Germany. SYLVIA MARTIN is an art historian living in Munich, Germany.


Andre Breton, the leading literary force of Surrealism, accused Miro of giving "himself up utterly to painting," and not (to the French writer's dismay) to theory. In connection with an exhibition of the Catalan painter's whimsical, cartoon-like collages, drawings and paintings, editors von Wiese and Martin have compiled a catalog that quite handily supports Breton's charge. Long considered a principal Surrealist artist, Miro certainly did focus on the playful, erotic and sinister unconscious-so his instantly recognizable, spindly-limbed amoebas attest. As one essay titled "Miro's Strategies" notes, the Barcelona-born artist-no stranger to ideology, having navigated strains of Futurism, Dadaism, and Catalan nationalism-managed to remain a reticent ascetic in the flamboyant Paris of the 1920s. Joaquim Gomis's clean, direct photographs show a man with neatly cuffed pants and a dapper tie working in a dusty foundry. But it is the volume's sumptuous reproductions that best bear out Breton's accusation that the artist simply wasn't a theoretician for the movement. More than an automatic doodler, Miro wielded consummate skill with line, composition and palette, producing richly atmospheric works-whether starkly empty canvases or frenetically cramped tableaus. In all cases, his attention to organic forms on deep background color leaves a profound formal legacy. Before he was a theoretician or even a Surrealist, Miro was a painter-a fortuitous failing. 30 b&w photos, 261 b&w and color reproductions. (June) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

Miro is one of the most recognized artists of the 20th century; his career paralleled and greatly influenced the history of abstraction in painting. Fittingly, a great deal of ink has been spilled over the last 20 years about Miro's life and work. Major retrospective exhibitions organized by the Guggenheim in 1987 and the Museum of Modern Art in 1993, as well as publication of a catalogue raisonn? in 1999, form a comprehensive body of recent scholarship. This new catalog, which accompanies an exhibition at the museum kunst palast, D?sseldorf, comprises works from collections across Europe and the United States. It includes paintings, drawings, sculpture, and prints, highlighting important aspects of Miro's oeuvre, particularly from the 1920s and 1930s. Accompanying the 100 full-color plates and five essays is a photographic essay by Joaquim Gomis, a close friend of Miro's. Gomis's photographs are quite beautiful, and they wonderfully reveal Miro's life and thought processes. While not a major retrospective catalog, this is nevertheless an attractive work that adds to the ever-growing Miro scholarship. Recommended for academic and other libraries with strong modern art collections.-Kraig A. Binkowski, Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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