Joan Miro: Instinct & Imagination

Joan Miro: Instinct & Imagination

Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, © Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris, 2015 Joan Miro, "Woman, Bird, and Star," 1973.

Joan Miró was, without a doubt, a key figure in the development of abstraction in the 1920s. His example lighted the path to abstract expressionism through his advocacy of automatism. In this approach, the artist is freed from traditional picture-making through the intercession of the subconscious. During World War II, Miró fled Nazi-occupied France and lived in Spain for the rest of his life. In the 1950s, he settled on the island of Mallorca, where he created paintings and sculptures almost until his death in 1983. These pieces, which make up the last chapter in Miró’s career, are the subject of Joan Miró: Instinct & Imagination at the Denver Art Museum. Right at the start, a spectacular painting, “Woman, Bird and Star (Homage to Picasso),” from 1966, is paired with a bronze sculpture, “Figure,” from 1969. The pairing juxtaposes the drop-dead-gorgeous character of Miró’s classic aesthetic, seen in the painting, with his inventiveness in exploring new directions, as revealed by the sculpture; the pair neatly prepares visitors for what lies ahead.

Through June 21 at the Denver Art Museum, 100 West 14th Avenue Parkway, 720-865-5000, denverartmuseum.org. Reviewed May 7.

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