In 1939, the Surrealist artist Joan Miró began a major print series—named after his birthplace—as a response to the horrors of the Spanish Civil War and the onset of World War II. However, rather than presenting a realistic interpretation of war, Miró’s dreamlike images evoke enigmatic symbols of human suffering. While many of the series’ fifty large plates include distorted bodies and anguished faces, this print reflects the more playful motifs associated with Miró’s personal iconography—childlike figures, eight-pointed stars, squiggles and swirls, biomorphic creatures, and the artist’s thumbprints. Nevertheless, tears seem to stream down the dirty, or bruised, face and black eye of the central figure. While ambitious in scope, the portfolio was issued in a small edition of only five impressions and two artist’s proofs, perhaps due to a paper shortage during the war years.
Plate XL from Barcelona Series
Lithograph on paper
Image/sheet: 27 1/2 x 29 9/16 in. (69.9 x 75.1 cm)
Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art, Henry Radford Hope Fund, 48.3
Large image not available.