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Constellation: Awakening in the Early Morning, 1941

Joan Miró, Spanish

Credit: Acquired with the generous assistance of a grant from Mr. and Mrs. Perry R. Bass © 2022 Successió Miró / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

This is one of a series of twenty-three small gouache and oil wash paintings known as the Constellations. The series evolved, surprisingly enough, from Miró’s aspirations in the late 1930s to work on a mural scale. As he wrote to his dealer, Pierre Matisse early in 1940: “I feel that it is one of the most important things I have done, and even though the formats are small, they give the impression of large frescoes.” By July 1940 Miró and his family had fled Nazi-occupied France, where he began the series, and were living in Majorca. It was there that the Kimbell Constellation was finished. At this time, Miró later explained, “The night, music, and stars began to play a major role in suggesting my paintings.”

The Constellations series was smuggled to New York, where part of it was exhibited at the Pierre Matisse Gallery in January 1945. Symbolic of the survival of great art in the face of the ongoing war, these small works had important implications for American painters such as Jackson Pollock as they created abstract compositions permeated with free-floating lines and forms.



Acquired directly from the artist by the (Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York);

Mr. and Mrs. Ralph F. Colin [he: 1900-1985], New York, by 1946;

(Acquavella Contemporary Art, Inc., New York);

purchased by Kimbell Art Foundation, Fort Worth, 1993.