Juan Miró, “Masterpieces”

These three images were exhibited, believe it not, in the Tate in London in 2013


Joan Miró, Painting on a White Background, for the cell of a recluse, I, II & III, 1968

Look, the Emperor has no clothes!

“These three paintings consist of no more than a single thin black line meandering vaguely diagonally across the dry, smudgy white of a canvas primed with acrylic. The lines reveal themselves to be composed of separate strokes building up shorter segments that thicken and thin as the brush is lifted off the surface and returns to it, resembling the sections of a stem of bamboo rather than a single reed.
Miró’s phrase of the hand breathing again comes to mind and is echoed in the viewer’s physical response as one in turn approaches the surface for a closer look or steps back to experience the rhythm of the threefold repetition of the calligraphic sign.”
Marko Daniel is co-curator of Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape, at Tate Modern.

But, it gets worse:


“With a blank white background punctuated by a grey line, to the untrained eye, Joan Miró’s masterpiece could be mistaken for a slightly cracked wall.” (my highlights)

And it appears that one visitor to a Miró exhibition at Tate Modern may have been so mistaken, damaging a £20 million painting when steadying himself with both hands against the work after tripping and falling. The slip up cost the tax payer more than £200,000. Painting on White Background for the Cell of a Recluse I, 1968, one of five rare triptychs by the Catalan artist that were shown together for the first time at a recent retrospective of his work, underwent emergency repairs after the incident, which is believed to have caused dents and marking on the picture’s surface.
The acrylic on canvas triptych was on loan to the Tate from the Joan Miró Foundation in Barcelona. The Government has paid out £203,000 to the Foundation, to cover the repair costs and the painting’s loss in value following the damage.

Well, I never!

Here are two paintings of Miró, dating from a period when his work made sense:


Joan Miró, Les cartes espagnoles, 1920, oil on canvas, 64 x 70 cm, Institute of Arts, Minneapolis, MN, USA


Joan Miró, Caballo, pipa y flor roja, 1920, oil on canvas, 83 x 75 cm, Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA, USA

But, go back almost a hundred years. Were these paintings ridiculed in the same way?

BT, Meeting No27, 16 October, 2018

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