About This Artwork

Joan Miró
Spanish, 1893–1983

Personages with Star, 1933

Oil on canvas
78 x 97 in. (198.1 x 246.4 cm)
Inscribed on verso, c.: "Joan Miró"

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Maurice E. Culberg, 1952.512

© 2018 Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

In the 1930s, the Surrealist movement grew beyond its avant-garde art origins and extended into the mainstream realms of commerce and advertising, fashion, theater, and design. For two of the great leaders of the movement, André Breton and Louis Aragon, this engagement defied the core principles of the group by bringing avant-garde art into the marketplace. Others, including Joan Miró, embraced it as a venue for new creative possibilities. In addition to designing theater sets, backdrops, and costumes, Miró was involved in the decorative arts. This painting, titled Personages with Star, is one of four cartoons for tapestries commissioned in 1933 by the French art collector and gallery director Marie Cuttoli. Two of Miró’s designs, including this one, were made into tapestries at the famous French Aubusson tapestry works.

Exhibition, Publication and Ownership Histories

Exhibition History

New York, Pierre Matisse Gallery, Joan Miró, April 15-May 17, 1952, cat. 1.

New York, Museum of Modern Art, Joan Miró, October 17, 1993-January 11, 1994, cat. 112 (color ill.).

Paris, Centre Georges Pompidou, La Révolution Surrealiste, March 6, 2002-June 24, 2002, p. 229 (ill.); traveled to Dusseldorf, K20 Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, July 24-November 24, 2002.

South Kensington, Victoria and Albert Museum, Surreal Things, Design and Decorative Arts, March 29, 2007—July 22, 2007,; traveled to Rotterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, October 2007 1—January 1, 2008.

Publication History

Pierre Matisse Gallery, Joan Miró, exh. cat. (New York: Pierre Matisse Gallery, 1952), cat. 1.

Devree, Howard, “Extending Horizons: Kirchner and Expressionism—Joan Miró—Cézanne Exhibition a Great Success,” New York Times (April 20, 1952), p. X9.

Fitzsimmons, James, “All Sorts of Wonderful Events,” Art Digest 26, 15 (May 1, 1952), p. 16.

Offin, Charles Z., “Gallery Previews in New York,” Pictures on Exhibit 14, 7 (May 1952), p. 15 (ill.).

Il Messaggero di Roma (July 22, 1952), ill.

Art Institute of Chicago Quarterly, 46, 4 (November 15, 1952), p. 68 (ill.).

“Culberg’s Contemporaries,” Life (October 27, 1952), p. 481 (color ill.).

Art Institute of Chicago, Paintings in the Art Institute of Chicago: A Catalogue of the Picture Collection (Chicago: Art Institute of Chicago, 1961), p. 314.

Dupin, Jacques, Miró, trans. Norbert Guterman (New York : H.N. Abrams, 1962), pp. 255-56, 529 (ill. 367).

Speyer, A. James, “Twentieth-Century European Paintings and Sculpture,” Apollo 84, 55 (September 1966), p. 225.

Art Institute of Chicago, Instituto de arte de Chicago: Presentación de Charles C. Cunningham (Buenos Aires: Editorial Codex, S.A., 1967), pp. 15, no. 73 (ill.), 79 (color ill.).

Svendsen, Louise Averill, “Composition, 1933,” The Evelyn Sharp Collection (New York : Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation, 1978), p. 52.

Speyer, A. James, and Courtney Graham Donnell, Twentieth Century European Painting (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980), p. 56, no. 2G8.

Lanchner, Carolyn, Joan Miró, exh. cat. (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1993), cat. 112 (color ill.).

Buser, Thomas, Experiencing Art Around Us (Minneapolis/St. Paul: West Publishing Company, 1995), p. 106, fig. 4-25 (color ill.).

Fleming, William, Arts & Ideas, 9th ed. (New York: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1995), pp. 609-10, pl. 21.6 (color ill.).

Spies, Werner, La Révolution Surrealiste, exh. cat. (Paris: Centre Pompidou, 2002), p. 229 (ill.).

Ownership History

Marie Cuttoli, Paris, through commission, 1933-late 1951 [New York 1993]; Joan Miró, late 1951 [letter from Pierre Matisse to Courtney Donnell, October 26, 1976 in curatorial file]; Galerie Maeght, Paris, December 1951 [New York 1993]; Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York, by March 1952 [letter cited above]; sold to Mr. and Mrs. Maurice E. Culberg, Chicago, by December 1952; given to the Art Institute, 1952.

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