An early painting by the legendary Spanish painter Joan Miró has entered Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen’s collection. Peinture-poème (Musique, Seine, Michel, Bataille et moi) is the museum’s most expensive purchase ever.
The painting from 1927 is a great addition to the Surrealist collection of the museum, already unparalleled in the Netherlands. The addition is important to the museum, the only one in the Netherlands with such holdings because for many years the acquisition of paintings by Miró was considered impossible. The Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen Collection already contains Surrealist masterpieces by Salvador Dalí, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Francis Picabia, René Magritte, Unica Zürn, Leonora Carrington and others. It is fair to describe this collection as unique.
Gunay Uslu, State Secretary for Culture and Media, unveiled the art: ”This painting is an important addition to our Dutch cultural heritage. It is a significant key work in Miró’s oeuvre and an underpinning of the national collection because of the influence he had on the CoBrA group. Thanks to the efforts of Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, the State, the Rembrandt Association and other benefactors. Very many people will now be able to enjoy this fascinating work.’”
The wait is over
Sjarel Ex, Director, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen: ”The Surrealist collection explores the treasures and caverns of the human mind, conveys the need for a new world order, defies hierarchy and a middle-class mentality. The Surrealists are a unique component of the collection in Rotterdam and we receive requests for loans from all over the world every week, and sometimes even every day. A Miró like this has been an absence in the collection from the outset. But, as soon as we know what we want, we have time. If necessary, we can wait for five generations for a particular painting. The wait is over. My heartfelt thanks to all public and private funds for this wonderful addition to Dutch national art treasures.”
The last of the ‘dream’ paintings by Joan Miró
‘Peinture-Poème (Musique, Seine, Michel, Bataille et moi)’ is one of the last of Miró’s ‘dream’ paintings, a group of works he made between 1924 and 1927. They demonstrated at the beginning of his career that, in his view, the reality was greater than what it is normally taken to mean. Over the years, Surrealist artists have developed different methods and techniques for excluding rational thinking when making their work, from playing games to using alcohol and drugs, from accidentally found objects or structures to trances, hypnosis and – as Miró confessed – starvation.
This new acquisition is a striking example of such Surrealist ideas and techniques. Afterwards, Miró said of the painting: ‘I loved making ripples in the water. I loved the reflections and the changing colours in the changing light. Shortly afterwards I painted a picture that conjured up the walks along the river.’