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Studio of Spanish surrealist Joan Miró recreated in London

Although not bathed in Mallorca's light, a London gallery has recreated in minute detail the Mediterranean sunshine island studio of Spanish painter Joan Miró.

Studio of Spanish surrealist Joan Miró recreated in London
Photo: Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca

Barcelona gallery Mayoral has reproduced the furniture, household items and painting materials found in the studio that inspired the surrealist painter.   

“The studio offered Miró a suitable working environment,” said Joan Punyet Miró, the artist's grandson who collaborated on the project.   

“When he closed the door behind him, he knew he was cutting all contact with the outside world and entering into his imaginary universe,” he added.   

“This imaginary space… was arranged upon a background of Mediterranean light, colours and shapes.”

The recreated studio, which marks the original's 60th anniversary, contains 25 paintings and drawings by the artist, who was born in Barcelona in 1893 and died in Mallorca in 1983.

Elvira Camara, curator of the “Miró's Studio” project, said it would bring to a London audience the “artist's final creative stage, which saw the culmination of his brilliant human and artistic process”.

The studio was opened in 1956 on the Balearic island where the artist had taken his family during World War II, saying it had been “my dream, once I am able to settle down somewhere, to have a very large studio”.

The studio was designed by the artist's close friend Josep Lluis Sert, a renowned Catalan architect.

The pair were forced to work together via letter as Sert was exiled in the United States, and their notes are also on display in the studio exhibit.    

The studio will be open to the public from January 21st until February 12th, before travelling to New York (March 3-8).

The original studio is in the Mallorcan capital Palma, and is now part of a complex featuring a museum, library and sculpture garden. 

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ART

Paul Gauguin’s ‘Mata Mua’ returns to Spain

One of French painter Paul Gauguin's most famous paintings, "Mata Mua", will return to a Madrid museum on Monday following an agreement between the Spanish government and its owner, who took it out of the country.

mata mua madrid
Toward the end of his life, Gauguin spent ten years in French Polynesia, where he completed some of his most famous artwork Painting: Paul Gaugin

The artwork had been on display for two decades at Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemisza museum but in 2020 when the institution closed because of the pandemic, the painting’s owner Carmen Thyssen moved it to Andorra where she currently lives.

Her decision to take “Mata Mua” to the microstate sandwiched between Spain and France raised fears she would remove other works from her collection which are on display at the museum.

“It is expected that the painting will arrive today,” a spokeswoman for the museum told AFP.

mata-mua_gauguin-madrid

In 1989, Baron Thyssen-Bornemisza bought Mata Mua at the Sotheby’s auction in New York. Painting: Paul Gauguin

The artwork will go back on display to the public “a few days after” Thyssen signs a new agreement with the Spanish state for the lease of her collection, she added. The deal is expected to be signed on Wednesday.

Painted in 1892 in vivid, flat colours, “Mata Mua” depicts two women, one playing the flute and the other listening, set against a lush Tahitian landscape.

It is one of the stars of Thyssen’s collection of several hundred paintings which are on show at the museum, including works by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Claude Monet.

Her collection had initially been displayed at the Madrid museum as part of a free loan agreement signed in February 2002 that was subsequently extended.

But in August 2021 Spain’s culture ministry announced it had reached an agreement with Thyssen to rent the collection from her for 15 years for €97.5 million ($111.5 million), with “preferential acquisition rights on all or part” of the works. The collection includes a Degas, a Hopper and a Monet.

Aside from housing her collection of works, the museum displays the collection of her late husband, Hans Heinrich Thyssen-Bornemisza, the Swiss heir to a powerful industrial lineage who died in Spain in 2002.

The Spanish state bought his collection in 1993 from $350 million, according to the museum.

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