Michael Fitzgerald’s anatomy of masterpiece in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal was worth the price of admission . . . and more. A close reading of the painting itself and the events surrounding the work, Fitzgerald makes a case that “Miró had labored so long on the canvas because he conceived it as a true masterpiece — a proof of his artistic achievements up to that time. In the process, it opened the path to his finest work of the later ’20s and probably the greatest of his career, paintings that share “The Farm”‘s central vision but reverse its celebration of plentitude with radically austere compositions of sparely drawn figures and saturated fields of color.”
Miró has done more than showcase his remarkable skill as a draftsman and realist. He has set his subjects in a world that tips into the profoundly unreal. In a space that should recede to distant mountains, there is hardly any difference between the very near and the very far. The hawthorn plant in the left foreground is as precisely rendered as the eucalyptus tree in the center and the horse-drawn mill on the edge of the distant woods. The house and barn flatten like cardboard cutouts instead of serving their traditional purpose of mapping three-dimensional depth. Even the square paving stones in the central foreground seem to point up to the sky rather than lead back into the illusory space of the painted world. The teaming life of Miró’s farm presses forward and nearly tumbles onto our laps.
Miróó’s Rich Harvest (Wall Street Journal)