Joan Miró

Series II


Joan Miró 1893–1983
Original title
Serie II
Etching on paper
Image: 377 x 455 mm
Purchased 1983

Not on display

Display caption

Odd creatures squirm and float among abstract forms in Miró’s print. They appear to be evolving within the fluid space of black and green. This amoebic quality was typical of Miró’s post-war imagery. The free-flowing drawing developed from his earlier engagement with Surrealist automatism. It also reflected his interest in the simple lines and colours of prehistoric art.

Gallery label, July 2011

Catalogue entry

P07900 Series II 1952

Etching 14 7/8 × 17 7/8 (377 × 455) on Velin Arches paper 19 3/4 × 25 7/8 (503 × 658), printed at Lacourière Imprimerie and published by Maeght Editeur, Paris
Inscribed ‘Miró|1952’ b.r. and ‘4/13’
Purchased from Isselbacher Gallery, New York (Grant-in-Aid) 1983
Lit: Jacques Dupin, Miró Engraver, 1, Paris 1984, p.18, pl.86 (col)

This work belongs to the second of six series of etchings which Miró made in 1952 and 1953. The first and second series are more closely related in terms of imagery than the subsequent series. Both present boldly and broadly drawn figures reminiscent of some of the ceramics Miró was making with Artigas at the time, while retaining the sense of fluidity characteristic of Miró's biomorphic forms of this period. In particular, a number of motifs are to be found in an unpublished set of engravings of 1947 which surround the poems of Ruthven Todd (Dupin, pp.16–17, repr.). In P07900 these have overtones of sexuality and reproduction.

‘Series II’ comprises a set of five etchings all from the same plate but inked as follows: (1) black; (2) black, green-brown with blue and brown; (3) black with blue, green, yellow and red; (4) black, green, yellow with blue and red; (5) black and red with blue and yellow. Miró does not appear to have indicted an order for the series. The numbering above follows the order established by Dupin. P07900 is the fourth in the series. Apart from the edition of 13 there are several trial proofs touched up by the artist and several proofs hors commerce. According to Dupin (p.83) the plates were made at Hayter's studio, Atelier 17, New York in June 1947 but printed at Atelier Lacourière in Paris between 1952 and 1953. Dupin describes the differences between the states as follows:

Miró obtains effects of a negative impression by the modulation of tones and by differences in the pressure of the press: with slight pressure, the groove deeply hollowed out by acid and then inked leaves nothing but a white on the paper; with normal pressure, the same groove restores ink of the same colour to the paper that it itself bears. (p.18)

One such white passage exists in the centre of P07900.

Published in:
The Tate Gallery 1982-84: Illustrated Catalogue of Acquisitions, London 1986