‘Сolor, Humor, Rhythm.’ Books Illustrated by Joan Miró from the Collection of Mark Bashmakov

Nov 1 - Jan 19 2020       Dvortsovaya pl. 6-8
The exhibition "‘Сolor, Humor, Rhythm.’ Books Illustrated by Joan Miró from the Collection of Mark Bashmakov" features thirty publications and continues the programme showcasing the books of Surrealist artists. This is the first time that the masterpieces of Miró the illustrator are shown extensively in the Hermitage. The quotation included in the exhibition’s title comes from James Johnson Sweeney, the curator of the artist’s first retrospective, held in New York in 1941.
It was entirely logical for Miró to apply his talents to the book. Along with other artists of his circle he was friendly with Surrealist poets and, like them, they sought to overcome the barriers separating painting and poetry. A striking example of this is the “picture-poems”, where an image is accompanied by a poetic text.
The first books with illustrations by Joan Miró (1893–1983) appeared at the turn of the 1930s, but the peak of his work in the sphere of the livre d’artiste came in the second half of the century. In the 1940s Miró mastered the techniques of colour engraving and colour lithography, which enabled him to realize his talent as a colourist in prints. At the same time, he, in his own words, arrived at an understanding of “what it means to make a book.” A key role in this was played by two major projects – illustrations for cycles of poems by Tristan Tzara (Parler seul) and Paul Éluard (À toute épreuve).
Among the 250 or so publications with illustrations by Miró, there are both books that he designed literally from cover to cover and numerous collective anthologies, catalogues and periodicals that contain just one print by him.
In Miró’s books, as in all his oeuvre, the spontaneity of the artistic gesture combines with a methodicalness that is at first unexpected. The artist experimented enthusiastically with print techniques, making ingenious use of whatever tools and materials came to hand. A painter par excellence, he was at the same time a genuine master of the book, with a thorough understanding of all the subtleties of the craft. Miró asserted that a book should be like “a sculpture carved from marble”, and his finest works are constructed as a well-thought-out ensemble united by a common movement, feeling and rhythm.



Open 10:30 - 18:00, Wed, Fri 10:30 - 21:00. Closed Mon. Nov 1 2019 - Jan 19 2020
General Staff Building
Dvortsovaya pl. 6-8
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