Joan Miró

Reviewed by Deane Barker tags: art, joan-miro

This a classic art coffee table book. It’s huge – 11 x 14, I think, and it weighs maybe 10 pounds? It’s the kind of book you set on your coffee table just to look at.

But I “read” it. I put that verb in quotes because this isn’t really “readable,” in the classic sense.

It had four major parts to it:

  • A long-form “essay” on Miró's life and art.
  • A center section of pictures of all of his art; hundreds of pages of pictures
  • A timeline of his life – every year, and what happened during that year
  • A catalog of his work with provenance, meaning who owned it, how it changed hands, and where it is now

I read the first part, the essay. It was maybe 50 pages. It went from his birth to sometime in the 40s, which is interesting because he lived until 1983, and seemed to do a fair amount of work later in life, so I have no idea why it cut off early. It was interesting, if a little dry.

I then looked through every single page of his artwork, multiple times. They were in chronological order, and you could get a real-sense for how his style changed over time. I learned that his “Constellation Series” are 24 works most closely associated with his style.

I skimmed the timeline and provenance sections. That’s mainly reference, I think.

It was a good experience. The biggest problem is that the book is simply unweildly. It’s so big, that it’s hard to physically manhandle when you’re looking through (and where do you put it when you’re not reading it – I dominated the little table next to my reading chair, and it was hard to balance it on other stuff).

Book Info

Carol Lanchner

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