New York: Pierre Matisse, 1959. Limited First edition. Hardcover. 1/200. Elephant folio (19 x 15 1/2"). Original illustrated portfolio housed in its beige linen box, illustrated in black by Miró on front cover and spine. Colophon hand-signed by both Juan Miró and André Breton.
Miró's masterpiece "Constellations" is a suite of 22 pochoirs executed by the artist between January 21, 1940, and September 12, 1941.
At the outbreak of WWII in September 1939, Miró left Paris for Varengeville-sur-Mer, in Normandy, and it was from there that the artist undertook a series of 23 gouaches which became known as the Constellations. "They are among Miró's most intricately constructed works, exploring ideas linked to regenerative processes located within nature.
Heavily influenced by the turmoil of the Second World War, his work seems to reflect upon the fragile, transitory quality of existence. Each Constellation piece depicts a moment in time, a microcosm of life: captured in weightless, suspended animation.
Before the Liberation of France, the Constellations were smuggled out of Europe for a Pierre Matisse exhibit in New York City. André Breton was immediately inspired by the series and wrote what would become his final poetic works.
In 1959, under the direction of pochoir master Daniel Jacomet, 22 of the original 23 gouache Constellations were made into pochoir plates, in a limited edition of 350 copies published by Pierre Matisse, in New York." (See: Patrick Cramer's "Joan Miró, the Illustrated Books: Catalogue Raisonné," page 58).
Laid in, an original tissue-guarded lithograph (sheet size 17 1/2 x 14," image: 12 x 9 3/4"), hand-numbered and hand-signed by Miró in pencil at lower margin, as issued.
The twenty-two pochoir plates (all 14 1/2 x 17 1/2") are the following:
- Plate I: Le Lever du Soleil (Sunrise)
- Plate II: L'Échelle de l'Évasion (The Escape Ladder)
- Plate III: Personnages dans la nuit guidés par les traces phosphorescentes des escargots (People at Night Guided by the Phosphorescent Trails of Snails)
- Plate IV: Femmes sur la Plage (Women on the Beach)
- Plate V: Femme à la blonde aisselle coiffant sa chevelure à la lueur des étoiles (Woman with Blond Armpit Combing her Hair by the Light of the Stars)
- Plate VI: L'Étoile Matinale (Morning Star)
- Plate VII: Personnage Blessé (Wounded personage)
- Plate VIII: Femme et Oiseaux (Woman and Birds)
- Plate IX: Femme dans la Nuit (Woman in the Night)
- Plate X: Danseuses Acrobates (Acrobatic Dancers)
- Plate XI: Le Chant du Rossignol à Minuit et la Pluie Matinale (The Nightingale's Song at Midnight and the Morning Rain)
- Plate XII: Le 13 l'Échelle a frôlé le Firmament (On the 13th the Ladder Brushed the Firmament)
- Plate XIII: La Poétesse (The Poetess)
- Plate XIV: Le Réveil au Petit Jour (Awakening in the Early Morning)
- Plate XV: Vers l'Arc-en-Ciel (Toward the Rainbow)
- Plate XVI: Femmes Encerclées par le Vol d'un Oiseau (Woman Encircled by the Flight of a Bird)
- Plate XVII: Femmes au Bord du Lac à la Surface Irisée par le Passage d'un Cygne (Woman at the Border of a Lake Irradiated by the Passage of a Swan)
- Plate XVIII: L'Oiseau Migrateur (The Migratory Bird)
- Plate XIX: Chiffres et Constellations Amoureux d'une Femme (Ciphers and Constellations in Love with a Woman)
- Plate XX: Le Bel Oiseau Déchiffrant l'Inconnu au Couple d'Amoureux (The Beautiful Bird Revealing the Unknown to a Pair of Lovers)
- Plate XXI: Le Crépuscule Rose Caresse les Femmes et les Oiseaux (The Rose Dusk Caresses the Women and the Birds)
- Plate XXII: Le Passage de l'Oiseau Divin (The Passage of the Divine Bird)
Original lithograph and pochoirs on Arches wove paper, printed by Mourlot Frères.
One of 200 signed copies (total run: 350) with an original lithograph, of which this is No. 169.
Box age-toned along edges. Some light foxing along edges of portfolio, as well as along margin of the original lithograph (not affecting image), the colophon and the title page. Text in French. Box in overall good to good+, interior in good+ to very good, original lithograph and pochoirs in very good condition. g to vg. Item #45028