JOAN MIRÓ – Masterpieces from The Maeght Foundation

An exhibition Joan Miró – Masterpieces from the Foundation Maeght will, for the first time, not only in Croatia but in the whole of this part of SE Europe, present works by the celebrated Catalan artist that are kept in the equally famed Maeght Foundation in Saint-Paul-de-Vence. Since in the last ten years none of the countries to which Croatia gravitates (Austria, Italy, Hungary) has hosted an exhibition of this Catalan artist, the present show will be, in some sense, a premier presentation of Joan Miró in the whole of the region. The exhibition has been curated by the director of the Maeght Foundation Olivier Kaeppelin and the director of the Art Pavilion Jasminka Poklečki Stošić. For the exhibition, they have selected a total of forty artworks – paintings (large format works), sculptures (21 pieces), lithographs and tapestries, a particular emphasis being placed upon the sculptures. Miró, who is primarily known as a painter, was also an outstanding sculptor, and the Maeght Foundation is the world leader in terms of number of Miró sculptures, of which it has more than one hundred and fifty. The exhibition will facilitate the tracking of the birth and evolution of Miró’s extraordinary sculptures created in a period of two decades – from the early 1960s, when he began to be seriously interested in this form of visual expression, to the very beginnings of the 1980s. Although considered to belong to the Surrealist movement, Miró in fact never kept company with any kind of style for a very long time and never betrayed his artistic autonomy and creativity. On the contrary, he was always looking for new forms of expression through totally new discourses. Contacts with the Parisian avant-garde, particularly with Picasso, Tristan Tzara and André Breton led to the creation of a new cosmos of beings and symbols in his works, which is particularly to be seen in his sculptural oeuvre. While his ceramic sculptures are small in scale, those in bronze are monumental, the best place to see them being the sculpture park of the Maeght Foundation. The links between Miró and the Maeght Foundation started in the middle of the 20th century. Miró was a great friend of the founder, Aimé Maeght. For many years the Foundation has been an indispensable venue for modern and contemporary art. Today it is impossible for a single serious world gallery or museum to put on an exhibition of Miró or Matisse, Bonnard, Calder, Giacometti or Braque without loans of works from the Maeght Foundation. The foundation was opened in 1964 by the French minister of culture of the time, André Malraux. This was an important event, for the Foundation was the first museum of modern art to have been built after the Museum of Modern Art in Paris. Its founder, Aimé Maeght, was passionately interested in art. He first of all founded the Arte Gallery in Cannes, and then one in Paris. In 1960 the Maeght became the world’s number one gallery. In 1952 Aimé went to America, where he visited museums and foundations like the Guggenheim, and determined to create something of the kind, so as to bring his collection, which then numbered over two thousand pieces, together in a single place. At the time when Maeght was building the Foundation, everything was concentrated in Paris, and it took an act of considerable courage to develop something of the kind in the little commune of Saint-Paul-de-Vence in Provence. The design and construction were confided to the Spanish architect Josep Lluis Sert. In 1960, a start was made to the building works that were to take four years to complete. The artists participated: Miró made fountains, Chagall mosaics and Braque stained glass and mosaics in the shallow pools. Above all else, the exterior became filled with the sculptures of Miró, Calder, Arp and Giacometti. The Foundation is seen by about 300 thousands visitors annually, and is open 365 days in the year.