When Joan Miró visited the United States in 1947, it was an inaugural trip to a country in which he was already a star. Miró’s early works – created from the 1920s to the 1940s – had offered the American avant-garde a welcome alternative to the sterility of geometric abstraction; an altogether more emotional message that seemed more fitting in the wake of the Second World War. Having enjoyed a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1941, his style is said to have inspired stars such as Rothko, Pollock, Gorky and de Kooning, to name just a few.
What the Catalan artist didn’t anticipate was that an exposure to the work of the young abstract expressionists he had galvanised would set into motion a valuable creative exchange. Their vitality, boldness and daring awakened a new artistic energy in Miró and was ultimately a catalyst to the liberation of his later works. Of his visits to America, Miró said: ’It showed me the liberties we can take, and how far we could go, beyond the limits. In a sense, it freed me.’
It is the artist’s more open, dramatic later works – created during this 20-year period of ’liberation’ – that are the focus of this new solo show at New York’s Nahmad Contemporary. Comparing Miró’s newfound freedom to that of a bird in space, the aptly titled ’Oiseaux dans L’Espace’ celebrates the gestating forms, flourishes, drips and splashes that would characterise the work he created in the final two decades of his life.
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