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Picasso: The Artist and His Models—Joan Miró

January 23, 2017

Joan Miró (Spanish, 1893–1983). Carnaval d'Arlequin (Carnival of Harlequin), 1924–25. Oil on canvas, 26 x 36 5/8 inches (66 x 93 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Room of Contemporary Art Fund, 1940 (RCA1940:8). © Successió Miró S.L. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Throughout his lifetime, Pablo Picasso moved in and out of many social circles. His closest friends included some of the greatest creative minds of the early twentieth century. Many of the works in Picasso: The Artist and His Models highlight how the artist’s personal relationships not only influenced his compositions but also helped steer the ever-changing course of his career.

After he arrived in Paris in 1920, Joan Miró quickly became disillusioned with the ways in which the cultural fabric of the city seemed to compel artists to create works of art only for commercial profit. However, upon meeting Pablo Picasso, Miró immediately declared him to be a great painter. The two developed a friendship and remained in contact even after Miró returned to Spain. It was Picasso who introduced Miró to the Harlequin figure and the tradition of artists employing the character as a stand-in for themselves. In Carnival of Harlequin, the Harlequin can be found in the central-left portion of the canvas, sporting a half-red, half-blue mask and diamond pattern on his tunic.