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Joan Miró and Alexander Calder were two of the greatest artists of the 20th Century as well as being close, lifelong friends. Both artists spent time in Paris throughout their careers, mixing in the same circles and exhibiting with the same galleries.
Although there are many differences in their work - most notably that while Calder’s work is largely embedded in an abstract and fluid style, Miró’s style is more surreal and intellectual - the similarities between the two are delightful and important and are what we have been enjoying most whilst curating this show.
Both artists were fascinated by the balance of poetry and geometry, of surface and depth, and of symbolism and intuition. They were both intrigued by the conversations between the mind at play and surface representation. They understood the intense effect of pure colour, dream like forms and the visual impact that these would have on a viewer in both a symbolic but also an immediate, visceral way.
There is a deceptive simplicity to their work but as is often the case, a work paired down so beautifully and simply as one of Miró’s or Calder’s is the work of a great mind: one able to make the composition balance so perfectly as to create harmony and to know when to let the form breath, colour be pure and line dance.
Calder is perhaps best known for his beautiful, kinetic mobiles, and Miró’s most famous works are his paintings, but both artists were also very keen printmakers. They worked with wonderful print studios and master printmakers but for each of them, one of their greatest collaborations was with the Maeght Gallery. Through Maeght they created large and usually unsigned editions of lithographs which could be widely distributed, making first class art available and affordable to any collector or enthusiast. These are the works, along with original posters from their exhibitions, which we are offering in this exhibition. All the works in this show are original lithographs but are from these unsigned and often large editions which makes them still wonderfully and temptingly collectable today.
We’re delighted with how beautiful and joyful the gallery is with the work by these two great printmakers hanging together. There is so much in the room to compare and enjoy. We hope that many of you will be able to visit the gallery this month to see the exhibition but as always, if you aren’t able to come along to central London, you will be able to view all the works online and see shots of how the works look on the walls of the gallery. All the works are for sale and we have focused on the more affordable lithographs by each artist and indeed most works in the show are under £2,000 with many under £1,000. We hope that you enjoy browsing the exhibition as much as we’ve enjoyed putting it together.
Rebecca Eames, August 2020