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Lot #6018
Joan Miro Early and Lengthy Autograph Letter Signed

"I started studying painting at the age of 14, my first teacher was Urgell, and later Pasco"—an early and lengthy letter from Miro to the founder of Cahiers d'Art, offering ample biographical details

Estimate: $2500+

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"I started studying painting at the age of 14, my first teacher was Urgell, and later Pasco"—an early and lengthy letter from Miro to the founder of Cahiers d'Art, offering ample biographical details

Early ALS in French, signed “Miro,” three pages, 8.5 x 10.75, April 7, 1934. Addressed from Barcelona, a lengthy handwritten letter to Cahiers d'Art founder Christian Zervos on an article the latter was writing. Miro begins by affirming that he has received his correspondent's letter, article, and photograph, and explains why he did not answer sooner (translated): “I had to go to Montrois to check according to the drawings…the exact dates, and to give you in the most exact way possible, the information that you had asked me for in Paris." He then writes about the article and offers ample suggestions: “Your article is very, very good, you have understood my concerns very well, it is at the same time written with great courage. I have read it carefully many times and am very moved by it. Thank you wholeheartedly. However, it would be necessary to rectify a few dates, it was very difficult for me to specify them during our interview with you. I consider that this information must be very exact, especially since they will be spread abroad, where people will use this number of 'Cahiers d'Art' when they want to write something important about me.

a) I started studying painting at the age of 14, my first teacher was Urgell, and later Pasco.
b) I stop painting from 1910 to 1912 - from this date I devote myself entirely to painting and attend certain academies etc. in Barcelona and spend my holidays in Montrois. I attended the academies until 1914 and from then on I would work alone.
c) arrived in Paris for the first time in March 1919, and it was from this date that I worked sometimes in Barcelona, sometimes in Montrois, sometimes in Paris.
d) although most of the reproductions will not have a title, you should not neglect to put one to those you quote in your article and to the most representative ones to better understand it.
e) these paintings were made in the winter and spring of 1933.
f) I also think it is better that you delete this passage. As you see all the corrections are very necessary and very important, I ask you to do the impossible to there in time.”

Miro also asks his correspondent if they have decided to go ahead with an exhibition, and then to let him know the exact date of the opening as soon as possible. He inquires if invitations will be sent, in which case Miro will provide some addresses. He continues: “I thought about your wife asking me to bring new paintings. It seems to me that this new series should be shown together, it would be a mistake to exhibit a few specimens beforehand. What would perhaps be very good, since ‘Cahiers d'Art’ is devoted to all my work, you also exhibit, in a separate room, a few old paintings. By being done simultaneously with the appearance of ‘Cahiers d'Art’ it will in no way seem like a retrospective, which must be avoided at all costs…it will remain very intimate and will not have the pretentious air of an exhibition on rue de la Boetie. And at the same time it would follow the trajectory that ends in 1933.” Miro concludes by asking if Zervos has seen Pierre Matisse: “I wrote him two letters in response to his where he informed me of the agreement with [Henri] Matisse and he did not answer me. I asked him if he would authorize me to write to Matisse to ask him to come to an agreement with him for the monthly payments so that it was Pierre who would pay them in full. I believe that since Pierre is, so to speak, the official merchant, he could find ways to settle the monthly payment.” In fine condition.

Christian Zervos (1889-1970) was a Greek-French art historian, critic, collector, writer, and publisher founded the magazine Cahiers d'Art and also ran an art gallery. Pierre Matisse (1900-1989) was a French-American art dealer and the youngest child of Henri Matisse. The Pierre Matisse Gallery was opened in New York in 1931 and represented many European artists including Miro, Marc Chagall, Alberto Giacometti, and Jean Dubuffet, amongst others.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Art, Literature, and Classical Music
  • Dates: May 22, 2024 - June 20, 2024

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