Monday, November 8, 2010

And the prize for the best title goes to... Joan Miró

This is one of my favourite Joan Miró lithographs, mostly because of the strength of the image with its vivid colour and lively composition, but also because of its hilarious title. It was created in 1952 in atelier Mourlot for the art revue Verve, published by Tériade. The double issue in which it appeared (no. 27-28) is one of the most sought-after issues of this legendary publication, as it contains not just this astonishing work by Miró but also Chagall's Visions de Paris (8 lithographs), Matisse's La tristesse du roi, Léger's La partie de campagne, and additional lithographs by Braque, Henri Laurens, Alberto Giacometti, André Masson, Francisco Borès, and Marcel Gromaire.

Joan Miró, The Dog Barking at the Moon
Lithograph, 1952

The full title of the Miró is lithographed in Miró's hand on the reverse of the print: Le chien aboyant à la lune reveille le coq le chant du coq picote le crane du fermier Catalan posé sur la table à coté du pourron. The dog barking at the moon wakes the cock, the song of the cock pecks at the head of the Catalan farmer resting on the table by the flask of wine.

Joan Miró, Le chien aboyant à la lune (title)
Lithograph, 1952

Like the other double page lithographs in this edition of Verve, The Dog Barking at the Moon has a central vertical fold, and tiny, barely-visible, threadholes where it was bound into the revue. And like almost all Verve lithos, there are additional lithographs on the reverse - in this case the title, and what seems like a preparatory sketch for the main composition.

Joan Miró, Preparatory study for The Dog Barking at the Moon
Lithograph, 1952

Below are a few more choice images from this wonderful edition of Verve, none of which comes close to the Miró for Monty Python-esque lunacy of concept or title.

Marc Chagall, Vision of Paris
Lithograph, 1952

Marc Chagall, Place de la Concorde
Lithograph, 1952

Henri Matisse, La tristesse du roi
Lithograph, 1952

Georges Braque, Untitled (Birds)
Lithograph, 1952

Henri Laurens, Daphne
Lithograph, 1952

Alberto Giacometti, L'arbre
Lithograph, 1952

André Masson, Le torrent
Lithograph, 1952

Francisco Borès, La femme en bleu
Lithograph, 1952

Marcel Gromaire, Intérieur flamand
Lithograph, 1952

Fernand Léger, La partie de campagne
Lithograph, 1952

6 comments:

Jane Librizzi said...

Fabulous issue, indeed to contain all that in one place. I agree completely about the Miro. It's a strong image and hilarious title. It shares a few superifical similarities with Picasso's Guernica, but to what different effect. Francisco Bores was new to me and charming. Marcel Gromaire's works that I've seen are usually darker (literally) than this, so perhaps they need a good cleaning.

Neil said...

I might do a post about Borès at some future time, as he seems to me an important artist who has fallen through the cracks of art history. As for the Miró title, I wonder if it is some kind of Catalan proverb or folk rhyme, translated into French. The word pourron is not in my French dictionary, but I believe poron (or however it might be spelled) is a Catalan word for a wine container shaped rather like a gourd.

Dead Serious Dilettante. said...

I love the second lithograph-- thanks for introducing it to me.

Neil said...

It's genuinely a pleasure, Dead Serious.

Roxana said...

oh but they are all wonderful, i couldn't choose myself...
i adore Chagall and Braque's birds and Daphne and L'Arbre are astonishing...

i remembered this poem:

I can no longer see anything
in the sky but a large white dog
devouring the moon.
This dog is not a cloud.
If it doesn’t belong to anyone it will leave.
And day will return.
But what if this dog belongs to
that man who leans on the
mountain in order to watch and
mock us?
The moon pauses; night lingers.
We are on the verge
of going another round.

Pierre Reverdy

tr. M. Tweed

Neil said...

Thanks so much for the beautiful Reverdy poem, Roxana, which I didn't know. I love the Braque birds, but all these images are very strong.