The Israel Museum Jerusalem recently opened the second exhibition in its "Focus" series, which takes as its starting point two works from the Museum’s own holdings: Joan Miró's Painting (Spanish Dancer), 1927, and his drawing Untitled (Spanish Dancer), 1924. The exhibition is on view through June 29, 2013.
Miró’s fascination with Spanish dancers unfolds through a series of paintings, drawings, and sketches produced over a period of sixty years. The fifteen works on display, from the Museum’s collection and on loan from international institutions and private collections, draw on symbols and imagery recurrent in Miró’s oeuvre and are rendered through a profusion of artistic styles. Joan Miró's Spanish Dancer explores this theme within the artist's oeuvre, analyzing its iconographic sources, connection with the artist's worldview, and its place within the development of Miró's artistic language.
The two works from the Museum's collection, Painting (Spanish Dancer), 1927, and Untitled (Spanish Dancer), 1924, stand at the core of this analysis of an important ensemble of works that both draw on imagery recurrent in the oeuvre of Joan Miró and establish a vocabulary of visual signs connected with the image of the Spanish dancer.
Flamenco's sensuous display of the upper torso, articulate hand gestures and percussive footwork inspired Miró to produce more than thirty sketches, drawings, paintings, and collages of Spanish dancers over a period of sixty years, between 1921 and 1981. These witty and playful works are rendered in a variety of styles—from realism and cubism, to surrealism and abstract collage—and exhibit Miró’s constant experimentation with form, medium, and technique.
Miró’s dancers draw upon childhood memories, Catalan art and folkloric objects that he collected. They are also linked with the popularity of Spanish themes within Parisian avant-garde painting, sculpture, and music during the second half of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century.
As an artist who divided his time between Paris, Barcelona, and his family farm in Montroig (Tarragona), Miró’s choice to pursue the Spanish dancer (titled in French by the artist in most cases as danseuse espagnole) reflects a desire to use an icon of "Spanishness" in France to express his origins in an evolving personal, yet at the same time universal, avant-garde language.