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Mir贸

Joan

&

Francis:

Explore Form, Space and Colour

Sam



&

Francis:

Sam

Joan

Mir贸

Explore Form, Space and Colour

April to June 2016


&

Our exhibition highlights the working practices and the shared visual language of the celebrated European Modern Master - Joan Miró, and the esteemed American PostWar abstract expressionist - Sam Francis. Each artist has contributed greatly to countless artistic movements of the twentieth century, organically evolving and reflecting on their own artistic journeys. The selection of works celebrates the link between these artists and, amongst others, the Lyrical Abstraction movement; it is not one of imitation, but one of innovation. Our eyes and our minds are instantly drawn to make sense of what we see before us; however, instead we are enchanted and entranced by the lyrical blending of forms, space and colour. Miró creates landscapes and portraits where we recognise neither, but instead are greeted by his vision of expression. Francis explored the painterly style and we see in these lithographs a direct correlation to his acrylics - his command of the brush is as present on the lithographer’s stone. ‘What we want is to make something that fills utterly the sight and can’t be used to make life only bearable.’ Sam Francis

Francis:

Sam

Joan

Miró

Explore Form, Space and Colour Both Miró and Francis are regarded as excellent colourists and were careful to choose media that could best realise their artistic visions. Whether this was traditional lithography or monotype printing, each artist thrived on and relished pushing the accepted methods of expression to new heights. In the latter years of Miró’s life he worked almost exclusively with printmaking and concerned himself with the exploration of coloured fields. Francis repeatedly pushed the boundaries of scale and process to master the monotype technique and raise the status of lithography amongst his American peers. ‘I try to apply colours like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.’ Joan Miró

The beauty with which each artist addresses space and composition can clearly be seen in these works. The way in which lightness and darkness are deliberately exploited show us how these images are to be enjoyed for their careful balance, harmony and ultimately their expression. ‘Painting is about the beauty of space and the power of containment.’ Sam Francis


At first glance the bold use of colour and careful control of space can seem random, but these features best demonstrate an exciting blend of skill, genius and impulse. These characteristics are shared by Miró and Francis in a subtle way. Through the decades it is possible to see how each artist addresses primary colours and in the case of Sam Francis how a single colour can provide all the structure and form needed for artistic expression. Once shade and tone have been fully exploited, the colour itself is left to standalone. This can be seen clearly in each of the acrylics on paper, from 1978 and 1984 respectively. ‘The works must be conceived with fire in the soul, but executed with clinical coolness.’ Joan Miró This shared visual language can be seen to be celebrated in the works Untitled (Monotype), 1982, by Francis p.34 and Traces on Water p.35, by Miró, whereby the same components are approached and explored in two very different ways. Miró choose to layer the aquatint in a way that creates a three dimensional plane, allowing the composition to float. Equally, Francis has used the monotype technique to build up colour and gradually create a unified image through the layering of inks. ‘There, in my pictures, tiny forms in huge empty spaces. Empty spaces, empty horizons, empty plains - everything which is bare has always greatly impressed me.’ Joan Miró Works include a selection of lithographs, etchings and aquatints, monotypes and acrylics on paper spanning the 1950s through to the 1990s. With such diverse techniques, exploration of colours and visual impact we invite you to discover your own favourite works by Joan Miró and Sam Francis from amongst our highlights.


JOAN MIRĂ“ 1893-1983 Sun Eater, 1955 4

Original hand signed and numbered lithograph in colours on Arches wove paper 76.2 x 56.5 cm. / 30 x 22.3 in.


JOAN MIRĂ“ 1893-1983 Figure with Red Sun I, 1950

Original hand signed and numbered lithograph in colours on Arches wove paper 64 x 50 cm. / 25.2 x 19.6 in.

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SAM FRANCIS 1923-1994 Untitled, 1988 6

Original hand signed and inscribed screenprint in colours on wove paper 76.3 x 55.9 cm. / 30 x 22 in.


JOAN MIRĂ“ 1893-1983, Bird between Two Stars, 1967

Original hand signed and hand numbered etching and aquatint in colours with carborundum on Mandeure rag paper 69.5 x 56.5 cm. / 27.4 x 22.2 in.

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Following a trip to the Cave of Altamira, Miró was enchanted by the 1000s of years of expression. The caves are dominated by bison imagery, but rather than seek to imitate, Miró once more seeks to evoke the spirit of visual recognition in its most basic form. The Cave Painting series explores tones, colours and immense black figurative lines, aided by the sensitive use of aquatint.

JOAN MIRÓ 1893-1983 Cave Paintings VI, 1979 8

Original hand signed and numbered etching and aquatint in colours on Arches wove paper 76 x 56 cm. / 29.9 x 22 in.


SAM FRANCIS 1923-1994 Untitled, 1985

Original hand signed and numbered aquatint in colours on wove paper 43 x 36 cm. / 16.9 x 14.1 in.

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SAM FRANCIS 1923-1994 One plate, from: Michel Waldberg: Sky poems, 1986 10

Original hand signed and numbered lithograph in colours on BFK Rives wove paper. 76 x 56 cm. / 29.8 x 22.1 in.


JOAN MIRĂ“ 1893-1983 The Storm - Indigo, 1969

Original hand signed and numbered lithograph in colours on BFK Rives wove paper 85 x 60.5 cm. / 33.4 x 23.8 in.

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In this work from 1984 we see the artist revisit an important body of work, known as the Blue Ball Series. Always innovating, Francis has dominated the composition with a central, expansive oval that draws the viewer in through concentric strokes. His command of colour and tone can be seen clearly in this acrylic.

SAM FRANCIS 1923-1994 Untitled SF84/045, 1984 (blue acrylic) Original acrylic painting on wove paper 104 x 74 cm. / 40.9 x 29.1 in.

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JOAN MIRĂ“ 1893-1983 Plate V, from: Series II, 1952-53 14

Original hand signed etching and aquatint in colours on Arches wove paper 50.5 x 65.5 cm. / 19.9 x 25.8 in.


JOAN MIRĂ“ 1893-1983 The Invention of Fire, 1960

Original hand signed and numbered lithograph and aquatint in colours on Arches wove paper 50.4 x 66 cm. / 19.8 x 26 in.

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SAM FRANCIS 1923-1994 Untitled, 1990 16

Original acrylic painting on wove paper 45.7 x 30.5 cm. / 18 x 12 in.


JOAN MIRÓ 1893-1983 Plate XV, from: La Bague d’Aurore, 1957

Original hand signed and numbered etching and aquatint in colours on Rives wove paper 38 x 28.5 cm. / 15 x 11.2 in.

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JOAN MIRĂ“ 1893-1983 Nebula, 1958 18

Original hand signed and numbered lithograph in colours on Arches wove paper 50 x 65.5 cm. / 19.6 x 25.7 in.


It was following a serious aviation accident that Francis took up the art of painting, never quite abandoning his previous studies with the natural and botanical world. Compositions such as Sky Poems allow the viewer to focus solely on space and depth, in monochromatic tones.

SAM FRANCIS 1923-1994 Michel Waldberg: Sky Poems, 1986

Original hand signed and numbered lithograph in colours on wove paper 56 x 76 cm. / 29.8 x 22.1 in.

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JOAN MIRĂ“ 1893-1983 The Great Wind, 1960 20

Original hand signed and hand numbered etching and aquatint in colours on BFK Rives wove paper 60.8 x 90.7 cm. / 23.9 x 35.7 in.


JOAN MIRĂ“ 1893-1983 Arrow Head, 1968

Original hand signed and numbered aquatint in colours with carborundum on Mandeure Rag Paper 65.5 x 50 cm. / 25.8 x 19.7 in.

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SAM FRANCIS 1923-1994 Another Set-Y (Triptych), from: The Pasadena Box, 1964 Three original hand signed and numbered lithographs in colours on Kochi rice paper mounted on a folding screen 39.3 x 172 cm. / 15.5 x 67.7 in. (overall)

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SAM FRANCIS 1923-1994 Untitled SF 351, from: Papierski Portfolio, 1973-84 24

Original hand signed and numbered lithograph in colours on Rives BFK paper 76.2 x 56 cm. / 30 x 22 in.


JOAN MIRĂ“ 1893-1983 Plate XI, from: Album 19, 1961

Original hand signed and numbered lithograph in colours on BFK Rives wove paper 61 X 51 cm. / 24 X 20.1 in.

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SAM FRANCIS 1923-1994 Untitled SF 355, from: Papierski Portfolio 1973-84 26

Original hand signed and numbered lithograph in colours on BFK Rives wove paper 76.2 x 56 cm. / 30 x 22 in.


JOAN MIRĂ“ 1893-1983 Etchings for an Exhibition II, 1973

Original hand signed and numbered etching and aquatint in colours on Arches wove paper Paper size: 63 x 91 cm. / 24.8 x 35.8 in.

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JOAN MIRĂ“ 1893-1983 Mark on the Wall II, 1967 28

Original hand signed and numbered etching and aquatint in colours with carborundum on Mandeure rag paper 72.7 x 104.4 cm. / 28.6 x 41.1 in.


JOAN MIRÓ 1893-1983 Creation Miró, 1961-62 Original hand signed etching with aquatint on Arches wove paper 20 x 40.3 cm. / 7.9 x 15.9 in.

JOAN MIRÓ 1893-1983 Creation Miró, 1961-62

Original hand signed and etching with aquatint in colours on Arches wove paper 20 x 40.3 cm. / 7.9 x 15.9 in.

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JOAN MIRĂ“ 1893-1983 Little Girl in Front of the Sea, 1967 30

Original hand signed and numbered etching with aquatint in colours on Mandeure rag paper 73.5 x 104 cm. / 29 x 41 in.


JOAN MIRĂ“ 1893-1983 In the Salt Cellar, 1975 Original hand signed and numbered etching and aquatint in colours on Arches wove paper 75.9 x 54.9 cm. / 29.9 x 21.6 in.

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SAM FRANCIS 1923-1994 Untitled SF 349, from: Papierski Portfolio 1973-84 32

Original hand signed and numbered lithograph in colours on BFK Rives wove paper 76.2 x 56 cm. / 30 x 22 in.


The impression on the following page embodies the three core elements of Sam Francis’ graphic work, precision within controlled space, liveliness of colour andexploration of complimentary planes. The bold composition is dominated by the three central squares set at an angle which are typical of the monotypes produced between 1981 and 1982. In fact these squares do not really exist, but rather the impression or illusion of their presence is created through the stepped shades of red through pink and the exploration of the colour spectrum. The choice of colours in all of their tones and gradients show the exuberance typical of the artist’s palette. The way in which the colours, depths and nuances of the composition interact, mean that it is only once the paper is placed on the plates and put through the press that the work is fully realised. Pressure, timing and scale are the variables that make monotype printing experimental and what ultimately creates a sense of alchemy that instils suspense in both the creator and the viewer. The beauty of the monotype process and indeed the quality that so attracted the artist to this technique is the fact that there is an unwavering inability to alter the artistic expression from the moment of its creation; therefore, it is truly an impulsive expression. By the very nature of their creative process, monotypes are unique snapshots of the artist’s working style and help us better understand the wider movements within an artist’s oeuvre. Sam Francis worked extensively with Garner Tullis in many respects to pushing the boundaries of scale for monotype printing and this collaboration lasted many years. This work, likely many of the monotypes was created on a specially designed printing press. The design, scale and specifications tailored to the artist’s vision for his monotypes.

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SAM FRANCIS 1923-1994 Untitled (Monotype), 1982 34

Original monotype in colours on handmade paper 106. 5 x 197 cm. / 41.9 x 77.5 in.


Miró created this etching and aquatint to accompany a book of offset watercolours and in doing so playfully manipulates the materials so that at first glance we are drawn to the immediacy of black lines and red spot, as if cast moments earlier by a frantically creative hand. Whereas, in fact it is with preparation, diligence and knowledge of materials that the artist can deceive us so. The depths, tones and forms are carefully selected to compliment and embody the works in the series, but is skilfully executed in a medium that would obsess the artist for decades - in constant pursuit of its innovation.

JOAN MIRÓ 1893-1983 Traces on Water, 1963

Original hand signed and numbered aquatint in colours on Rives wove paper with a hand signed and numbered portfolio with one original lithograph on the front cover on wove paper and 14 watercolours offsets on onion skin Marais paper 28.7 x 70.5 cm. / 11.3 x 27.8 in.

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JOAN MIRĂ“ 1893-1983 Plate I, from: Quatre Colors Aparien el Mon, 1975 36

Original hand signed and hand numbered etching and aquatint in colours with carborundum on Arches wove paper 90 x 63.5 cm. / 35.5 x 25 in.


JOAN MIRĂ“ 1893-1983 The Sargeant, 1978

Original hand signed and numbered etching and aquatint in colours with carborundum on Arches wove paper 106.5 x 75.2 cm. / 42 x 29.8 in.

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SAM FRANCIS 1923-1994 Untitled SF78-94, 1978 (red acrylic)

Original acrylic painting on wove paper 111.2 x 82 cm. / 43.7 x 32.2 in.

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JOAN MIRĂ“ 1893-1983 Football World Cup - Spain 82, 1981 40

Original hand signed and hand numbered lithograph in colours on Arches wove paper 94 x 59.8 cm. / 37 x 23.5 in.


SAM FRANCIS 1923-1994 Untitled SF – 310, 1979

Original hand signed and numbered lithograph in colours on BFK Rives wove paper 75 x 105 cm. / 29.5 x 41.3 in.

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JOAN MIRĂ“ 1893-1983 The Street Singer IV, 1981 42

Original hand signed etching and aquatint in colours on Arches wove paper 57.3 x 42.8 cm. / 22.5 x 16.7 in.


The work on the following page is from one of the most important single series of work created by Miró in homage to a fellow countryman. Once Miró had established his printing studio in his Son Boter studio in 1975, he was able to start this major project: a print series dedicated to the great Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí, a figure he greatly admired. Miró met Gaudí during his adolescence while he was attending drawing classes at the Cercle de Sant Lluc. Miró greatly admired this Catalan Modernist architect, considering Gaudí’s work among his sources of inspiration. Miró decided to prepare this series carefully in advance before proceeding. In order to “be in shape”, as he described it, he produced together with the engraver Joan Barbarà a variety of works such as Enrajolats, La commedia dell’arte, Rupestres, Personatges i estels and La gran rodona. The Gaudí series comprises 21 prints in which Miró used all conceivable resources, ranging from traditional techniques to the most innovative methods, such as etching, sugar-lift aquatint, carborundum, embossing, and collage. The creative process for this series took place at the Son Boter studio beginning in 1976; it was then printed in Barcelona in 1979, in an edition of 50. The result of this process is a gallery of images in which the sobriety of the black hues contrasts with the palette of blues, reds, yellows, and greens. All of these colours often configure a sort of multi-shaped, uneven grid whose changing geometry suggests the kaleidoscopic, irregular mosaic work used by Gaudí to envelop his architectural elements.

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JOAN MIRĂ“ 1893-1983 GaudĂ­ IV, 1979 44

Original hand signed and numbered etching and aquatint in colours on Arches wove paper 65.2 x 50 cm. / 25.6 x 19.6 in.


SAM FRANCIS 1923-1994 Untitled SF 350, from: Papierski series 1973-84

Original hand signed and numbered lithograph in colours on BFK Rives wove paper 76.2 x 56 cm. / 30 x 22 in.

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SAM FRANCIS 1923-1994 Untitled (Monotype), ca. 1980 46

Original hand signed monotype in colours on wove paper 96 x 74.5 cm. / 15.5 x 67.7 in.


The theme of balance and flux has been revisited by the artist from his earlier series, The Water Carrier [Le Porteur d’Eau], as the focus for the main element within the composition. With great energy and carefully placed colour, the central figure bursts forth from its central plane. The thickness of the inks and the width of Miró’s signature black line add to the effect of movement and a sense of precarious scales.

JOAN MIRÓ 1893-1983 The Balancing Man, 1969

Original hand signed and hand numbered etching with aquatint in colours with carborundum on Japon nacré paper 68 x 49.5 cm. / 26.7 x 19.5 in.

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JOAN MIRĂ“ 1893-1983 The Invention of the Look, 1970 48

Original hand signed and hand numbered etching and aquatint in colours with carborundum on Arches wove paper 50.3 x 66 cm. / 19.8 x 26 in.


JOAN MIRĂ“ 1893-1983 Dandy, 1969

Original hand signed and numbered etching with aquatint and carborundum on Mandeure rag paper 75 Ă— 59 cm. / 29.5 x 23.5.in.

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JOAN MIRĂ“ 1893-1983 Plate XI, from: Barcelona 1972-73 50

Original hand signed and hand numbered etching and aquatint in colours with carborundum on Guarro wove paper 69.5 x 106 cm. / 27.4 x 41.7 in.


SAM FRANCIS 1923-1994 Untitled, 1981

Original hand signed and numbered lithograph on Rives paper 81.3 x 75.6 cm. / 32 x 29.8 in.

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Gilden’s Arts Gallery 74 Heath Street, Hampstead London NW3 1DN Opening Times: Monday to Friday: 9:30 -18:30 Saturday - Sunday: 12:00 - 18:00 E: info@gildensarts.com T: +44 (0)20 7435 3340 W: gildensarts.com


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