About this artwork
Soon after Joan Miró moved to Paris from his native Barcelona in 1920, he met a group of avant-garde painters and writers who advocated merging the everyday rational world with that of dreams and the unconscious in order to produce an absolute reality, or surreality. To release images of this higher realm, the Surrealists embraced automatism, a spontaneous working method much like free association. Miró experimented with automatism: “Even a few casual wipes in cleaning my brush,” he said, “may suggest the beginning of a picture.” Between 1925 and 1927, his experiments unleashed a revolutionary series of works called the “dream paintings,” which straddle abstraction and representation in freely moving, calligraphic compositions. In The Policeman, a large canvas from this group, two biomorphic shapes spring to life as a policeman and a horse, their forms defined by thinly applied white paint against a neutral ocher ground. The form on the left has sprouted five buds that act as fingers, and both forms extrude curves that suggest torsos or mouths. With graffiti-like dots and squiggles added to their heads to make eyes and a mustache, Miró’s shapes come to life in a liquid space as animated equivalents of a policeman and his horse.
- Joan Miró
- The Policeman
- Oil on canvas
- signed and dated lower left: Miró./1925. signed and dated on verso: Joan Miró./1925.
- 248 × 194.9 cm (97 5/8 × 76 3/4 in.)
- Bequest of Claire Zeisler
- © 2018 Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris