Mark Harden's Artchive Miro, Joan
Dawn Perfumed by a Shower of Gold
1954
Watercolor and plaster on composition board
42 1/2 x 21 5/8 in. (108 x 54.9 cm.)
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art

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From the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art catalogue:

"FOLLOWING THE SPARE APPARITIONS of the mid-twenties, Miro moved to develop a unique iconography of signs and pictograms drawn from his imagination, his environment, and his Catalan heritage. Closely linked historically to the Surrealists yet isolated from them by consummate individualism, he delved into the realm of dreams and fantasy, using images that evoked subconscious recognition and universal emotions. The com- positions again became more complex, sometimes taking the form of a landscape in which disparate object-images are combined within a single arena, sometimes becoming ambiguous arenas where biomorphic forms float on amorphous backdrops. Miro fused poetry with pictorial concerns, alluding to the literary conjugation of beauty with lyrical titles that provide keys to the symbols depicted.

"Miro's creation of a pictorial vocabulary reached its apex in 1940 when he executed a series of small gouaches entitled Constellations. Begin
ing with a few discrete images, Miro added more and more forms, constantly unbalancing then balancing until a veritable heaven of signs connected by a delicate linear webbing achieved a complex compositional equilibrium. Some of the myriad signs and symbols were familiar, some were new: anatomical parts, tendriled biomorphs, elemental stars and moons, as well as seemingly abstract hourglass shapes, and simple circles and ovoids. For Miro, new materials and textured surfaces were sources of ongoing inspiration, leading him in the late twenties to adhere bits of paper, rope, and small metal objects to the picture surface, and, shortly thereafter, to join seemingly unrelated objects into suggestive sculptural assemblages. During the forties, this same concern for the tactile provoked a renewed interest in ceramics. Working with his longtime collaborator, Joseph Llorens Artigas, Miro first experimented with surface manipulation and decoration, then, in subsequent trials, created new non-functional forms.

"While Miro's attention was occupied with work in a variety of mediums in the early years of the fifties, he continued to produce a number of easel paintings. Dawn Perfumed by a Shower of Gold, executed in 1954, with its whimsical sexuality and gaily hued palette, characterizes the joyous nature of the output of the period. A strictly limited number of images, including the artist's hallmark star, fills the vertical picture plane, concentrating its focus and endowing it with an upward sense of elation. The central image, an elongated personage with sexually explicit appendages, is defined by linear arabesques, a weightless network grounded by a brightly checkered pedestal. The playing-off of line against flat, articulated shapes which change color at the over- lapping of planes, sets up a playful rhythm, and together these elements extricate themselves from their airy, sunlit ambiance. The picture surface is pebbled and scumbled, suggesting the title's "shower of gold" and adding yet another element of visual activity. This work expresses the multifaceted nature of Miro's talent, one which combines joy with serious dedication, formal concerns with poetic ones, and reality with the world of fantasy."