WASHINGTON, D.C.- A rare chance to explore the visual dialogue between two of the greatest artistic inventors of the twentieth century, American sculptor Alexander Calder (1898-1976) and Catalan painter Joan Miró (1893-1983), goes on view this fall in Washington, D.C. Calder Miró, opened at The Phillips Collection, traces the emergence of a new vocabulary of abstraction in the work of these two giants of modern art in the context of their five-decade friendship. From 1920s Paris and 1930s Spain to mid-century Manhattan—in three languages, on two continents, and despite World War II—Calder and Miró shared interests, inspiration, and artistic strategies, profoundly influencing each other’s work and the evolving language of art itself. The exhibition reveals the results of this extraordinary creative collaboration in more than 100 paintings, sculptures, and collages, some on view or paired for the first time. These range from the early toys and circuses to the Constellations series, monumental works, and shared commissions. Miró’s monumental 1947 Cincinnati Mural Painting and Calder’s mobile Twenty Leaves and an Apple, created for the same site, will be presented outside their home city for the first time.
The Phillips Collection will be the only United States venue for Calder Miró, which is co-organized with the Fondation Beyeler, Riehen/Basel, Switzerland. Calder Miró is made possible through the generous support of Ford Motor Company.
“Calder and Miró pushed beyond traditional modes of painting to create some of the most important art of the 20th century,” said Jay Gates, director of The Phillips Collection. “In its celebration of the creative and personal affinities of these beloved artists, and the qualities of exuberance and play in these works, Calder Miró finds a natural home in the intimate setting Duncan Phillips created to share the joy he found in art.”
“The exhibition tells a story about two artists who embarked into unknown realms of the imagination as they devised new approaches to the picture plane, based on a language of abstract forms and movement,” said Beth Turner, senior curator at The Phillips Collection and co-curator of the exhibition.
“The extraordinary collaboration between these two artists had a profound influence on art in the 20th century. Ford is committed to supporting the creativity and discourse that leads to new ideas, and the partnership between Alexander Calder and Joan Miró demonstrates the important innovations that can come from life-long exploration,” said Sandra E. Ulsh, President, Ford Motor Company Fund. “We are pleased to support the only U.S. presentation of this vibrant exhibition and to continue our partnership with The Phillips Collection.”