Joan Miro "Les pénalités de l'enfer ou Les nouvelles-hébrides"

Artist                                     Joan Miro
Title                                      "Les pénalités de l'enfer ou Les nouvelles-                                                   hébrides"
Date                                     1974
Medium                                original lithograph
Edition                                  from an edition of 50 on Vélin d'Arches
Signed                                  hand signed and numbered
Dimensions                          29 1/2 x 10 3/5 inches
Availability                            Available
Reference                            M.988
Both the Spanish artist Joan Miró and the French poet Robert Desnos were prominent figures in the Surrealist movement in Paris where they met in 1925 and became good friends.  They apparently agreed in the 1920s that Miró would at sometime provide illustrations for a book by Desnos but the plans were never implemented because of the Spanish Civil War and World War II.  During the latter Desnos was active in the French Resistance and was eventually arrested by the Gestapo in 1944 and sent to various notorious concentration camps including Auschwitz and Buchenwald.  Ironically Desnos survived the war only to die of typhoid a few weeks after the liberation of the camp where he was held in 1945.


Against that poignant background, nearly thirty years later Desnos’ widow approached Miró with the idea that he should indeed illustrate one of the poet’s unpublished works and they agreed to use Pénalités de L’Enfer ou Les Nouvelles-Hébrides (The Penalties of Hell or The New Hebrides).  It was in fact Desnos’ first prose work which had been written in Morocco in 1922.

Consequently in 1974 Miró produced his lithographs, mainly printed in colours, for an edition limited to 220 copies printed on Arches wove paper by Arte Adrien Maeght. 

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