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Exhibition in Barcelona covers the different graphic techniques that Joan Miró explored
Joan Miro, Series III, 1952-1953. Etching and aquatint. 24,5 x 32 cm.

BARCELONA.- The Fundació Joan Miró presents the Joan Miró. Printmaking exhibition, a selection of engravings and lithographs from its collection that opened to the public from July 2 to September 24, 2013.

The exhibition is a compilation of works by Miró that attests to his experimentation in printmaking from the 1930s to the 1960s.

The selection of engravings and lithographs is presented in three chronologically ordered sections, providing an overview of Miró's stylistic transformation and technical development.

The works on exhibit are rounded out with a film by Clovis Prévost that documents the process of Miró working on a lithograph.

Joan Miró. Printmaking covers the different graphic techniques that Miró explored from the 1930s to the 1960s. A significant number of the pieces shown are lithographs and engravings, but other methods are also included, such as intaglio, drypoint, etching, and aquatint. The exhibition suggests how the renewal of the artist's language went hand in hand with his technical advances in printmaking. Close to one hundred works are presented, many of which are parts of larger series.

The exhibition, consisting entirely of pieces from the Foundation's collection, highlights Miró's experimental spirit. By the time the artist delved into printmaking, he was a recognized painter and had long-standing experience with a broad range of materials. The works on exhibit show how Miró's pursuit of printmaking influenced his painting—and how the opposite was equally true.

The selected works are organized chronologically in three sections. The first of these shows Miró's earliest prints, from the 1930s, produced during the Spanish Civil War when the artist sought exile in Paris. In the course of this first period of contact with printmaking, Miró learned the technique at the studio of engraver Louis Marcoussis, and began exploring the use of color by combining two plates. This experimentation with color is featured in the exhibition with several compositions from the Black and red series.

The second section includes lithographs and engravings from the late 1940s. In 1947, Miró spent almost a year in New York, working on a huge mural painting commissioned for Cincinnati. Based on what he learned at S.W. Hayter's print studio, Miró honed his technical knowledge and introduced color into his prints more extensively and skillfully. The works included in this section also reflect the consolidation of the language of signs and symbols that the artist had developed in his earlier period.

Following the end of the Second World War, Miró reestablished contact with Europe, and, with the support of his new dealer Aimé Maeght, increased his focus on printmaking. This helped him reconnect with his poet friends, who frequently asked him to provide illustrations for bibliophile editions of their works. All of these artistic exchanges played into the language of Miró's graphic production.

The last part of the exhibition covers the period from the 1950s to the early 1960s. The pieces in this section bear witness to the artist's highly developed technical skill. He broke colors down into different plates to obtain new results, superimposing them in the printing, and adding stains and splashes to achieve multiple variations. The influence of American painting is reflected in many of these experiments. Meanwhile, Miró's interest in Japanese calligraphy is also apparent, as we can see from the strokes in some of the compositions on exhibit.

The exhibition is rounded out by a screening of Clovis Prévost's documentary Miró, lithographie d’une affiche, showing Miró at work on several lithographs at the Arte print studio in Paris. The footage, shot in the early 1970s, provides a detailed record of the process involved in producing a lithograph.

The techniques employed by Miró in his print production are described in further detail in a series of online texts and videos that can be accessed with the QR codes available throughout the exhibition itinerary.

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