April 20 – June 1, 2023
41-43 Maddox Street, London, W1S 2PD UK
Our new exhibition explores the lifelong friendship between Pablo Picasso and Joan Miró, ‘Modern Masters: Picasso & Miró’. These two Catalan artists, although very different in their approach to printmaking, both revolutionised the medium, expanding its possibilities and breaking its constraints.
Their mutual respect and admiration for each other’s work and personal ideologies were the foundation for their enduring friendship. The exhibition will examine the stylistic and technical differences of these artists whilst revealing their often overlooked unifying qualities.
The pair met for the first time in 1920 when Miró visited Picasso’s studio on Rue de la Boétie having just moved to Paris; he was 27 whilst Picasso was 40. The following year, when Miró held his first exhibition at Galerie Licorne, Picasso purchased the famous ‘Self Portrait’ (1919) by Miró, a work he kept for the rest of his life.
Both artists had a lifelong commitment to printmaking, each creating over 2000 printed works during their careers. Though Picasso often, restlessly searched for ways to bend the medium of printmaking to his will, Miró far preferred to remain respectfully within the traditional methods. ‘Miró had too much respect for his materials and tools to subject them to his own designs — rather, he beckoned them… and engaged them in loving dialogue’ remarks Jacques Dupin in his monograph on the artist.
There is a great spontaneity in Miró’s mark making and he relished the outcome of a trial-and-error approach which suited his style of calligraphic, free-flowing lines. Lithography, etching and carborundum were the techniques that best suited his strokes. His designs may have been improvised and experimental, but he would always leave copious, careful instructions for his printmaker, exposing his more methodical and measured approach to the act of making the physical print itself.