Head of a Catalan Peasant

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Head of a Catalan Peasant is an emblematic sequence of oil paintings and pencil made by Joan Miró between 1924 and 1925. Miró began this series the same year that André Breton published his Manifesto of Surrealism. The series was made partly in Paris. For Joan Miró "a peasant" symbolized rural knowledge, and also reflected his Catalan identity.

The Fundació Joan Miró of Barcelona keeps several preparatory drawings for this series.[1][2][3]

The work demonstrates that Miró had ties with his homeland throughout his career.[4] Joan Miró created this series in response to the prohibition of the Catalan language by Miguel Primo de Rivera. He was also influenced by the rural environment of Baix Camp. In this series he further develops the language started in works such as Catalan Landscape (The Hunter). The sequence followed by Miró has been interpreted several times as a progressive simplification of the same scene.[5] Christopher Green, in turn, says that this is not exactly a linear trend toward simplification, but rather a dilemma, an internal discussion between the artist which creates the filled pictorial space.[citation needed]


The series shares the synthetic representation of the figure of a Catalan peasant, by a repetition of symbols such as the triangular head, the beard and red hat (called Barretina), all combined in one pole figure. In this group of oil paintings, Miró outlines the figure of a farmer several times, working with neutral background blue or yellow. As said Margit Rowell, Joan Miró explained his intentions with this work:

I escaped into the absolute. I wanted my spots to seem open to the magnetic appeal of the void []. I was very interested in the void, in perfect emptiness. I put it into my pale and scumbled grounds, and my linear gestures on top were the signs of my dream progression.

— Joan Miró[5]


Head of a Catalan Peasant (1924)[edit]

Head of a Catalan Peasant[6]
Catalan: Cap de pagès Català
Artist Joan Miró
Year 1924
Type Oil painting technique and color pencils
Dimensions 146 cm × 114.2 cm (57 in × 45.0 in)
Location National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.

This first version of the Catalan Peasant was painted in 1924 and is now part of the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.[6] It became part of the collection as a gift of the Collectors Committee of the institution. The work is signed at lower right: Miró / 1924. The back of the work is signed Joan Miró,Tête de Paysan Catalan, 1924.


Year Exhibition Place City Ref
1934 Ausstellung Kunsthaus Zürich Zurich [7]
1936 International Surrealist Exhibition New Burlington Galleries London [8]
1980 XIX & XX Century Master Paintings Acquavella Galleries, Inc. New-York [9]
1982 Miró in America Museum of Fine Arts Houston [10]
1993 Joan Miró: 1893-1993 Fundació Joan Miró Barcelona [11]
1993 Joan Miró: Campo de Estrellas Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía Madrid [12]
1993 Joan Miró Museum of Modern Art New York [13]
1997 Joan Miró: Campesino catalán con guitarra Fundación Colección Thyssen-Bornemisza Madrid [14]
1998–1999 Joan Miró Moderna Museet &
Louisiana Museum of Modern Art
Stockholm &
2004 Joan Miró 1917-1934: La Naissance du Monde Centre Georges Pompidou Paris [16]
2008 La invención del siglo XX. Carl Einstein y las vanguardias Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía Madrid [17]
2008 Miró: la tierra Palazzo dei Diamanti i
Museu Thyssen-Bornemisza
Ferrara i
2011 Miró: The ladder of escape Tate Modern London [18][19]
2011 Miró: L'escala de l'evasió Fundació Joan Miró Barcelona [20]

Head of a Catalan Peasant[edit]

Head of a Catalan Peasant
Catalan: Cap de pagès Català
Artist Joan Miró
Year 1924-1925
Medium Oil on canvas
Dimensions 47 cm × 45 cm (19 in × 18 in)
Location private collection, N.D.

Is the most unknown of the series, which belongs to a private collector, but has been seen in several exhibitions:


Year Exhibition Place City Ref
1959 MoMA and Los Angeles County Museum New York and Los Angeles [21]
1964 Tate and Kunsthaus Zürich London and Zurich [22]
1968 Antic Hospital de la Santa Creu Barcelona [23]

Catalan peasant with guitar[edit]

Catalan peasant with guitar[5]
Catalan: Cap de pagès Català amb guitarra
Catalan peasant with a guitar.jpg
Artist Joan Miró
Year 1924
Type Oil painting technique and color pencils
Dimensions 147 cm × 114 cm (58 in × 45 in)
Location Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid

This work demonstrates the process of synthesis that Miró began using in his compositions later in his trip to France in the early 20s, after coming into contact with the Surrealists and Dadaists. Miró began to create his own sign language. In this version of the series, you can see the farmer's body with a hat on an intense blue background.

Head of a Catalan Peasant (10 March 1925)[edit]

Head of a Catalan Peasant[24]
Catalan: Cap de pagès Català
Head of a Catalan peasant 1925.jpg
Artist Joan Miró
Year 10 March 1925
Type Oil painting technique and color pencils
Dimensions 92.4 cm × 73 cm (36.4 in × 29 in)
Location National Gallery of Scotland, Edinburgh

The version preserved in Edinburgh is the third of four Catalan Peasants that Miró made. You can understand this painting as a selfportrait of Miró, which affirms his Catalan identity.[citation needed] The work, conducted in 1925, was made at a time when Miró was gradually moving away from Cubism. Previously the work had been part of private collection of Roland Penrose. Currently the work is preserved in the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. It was acquired along with the help of the Art Fund, the Friends of the Tate Gallery and the Knapping Fund 1999.[24]

Head of a Catalan Peasant 1925[edit]

Head of a Catalan Peasant[25]
Catalan: Cap de pagès Català
Artist Joan Miró
Year 1925
Type Oil painting technique and color pencils
Dimensions 147 cm × 115 cm (58 in × 45 in)
Location Moderna Museet, Stockholm

This version is kept in Moderna Museet, Stockholm. It joined the museum with the registration number MOM 445, in the legacy of Gerard Bonnier in 1989. He had previously been owned by Jacques Viot, Galerie Pierre (Loeb), Private Samling, Marcel Mabille and Svensk-Fransk Konstgalleriet.[26] This version is one of the synthetic series, dominated by a blue a bit more intense than in the rest of the works. You can also see a black cross, surmounted by a small hat. The space is decorated with a pair of stars, one white and one black.


  1. ^ Sketch conserved at the Joan Miró Foundation
  2. ^ Sketch conserved at the Joan Miró Foundation
  3. ^ Sketch conserved at the Joan Miró Foundation
  4. ^ "Exhibition "Joan Miro. The ladder of escape"". Government of Catalunya. 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-17. 
  5. ^ a b c "Joan Miró - Catalan Peasant with a Guitar". Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum. Retrieved 2011-11-17. 
  6. ^ a b "Head of a Catalan Peasant". National Gallery of Art. Retrieved 2011-11-17.  - Information about the work
  7. ^ Catalogue number exposure: 86
  8. ^ Catalogue number exposure : 210
  9. ^ Catalogue number exposure : no. 13.
  10. ^ Non numbered Catalogue
  11. ^ Catalogue number exposure : 62
  12. ^ Catalogue number exposure : 7
  13. ^ Catalogue number exposure : 39
  14. ^ Catalogue number exposure : 1
  15. ^ Catalogue number exposure : 17
  16. ^ Catalogue number exposure: 58
  17. ^ a b Catalogue number exposure : 95
  18. ^ "La Tate Modern obre dijous una gran retrospectiva de Miró" (in Catalan). El Periódico de Catalunya. 2011-04-12. Retrieved 2011-11-17. 
  19. ^ "Joan Miró: The Ladder of Escape". Institut Ramon Llull. 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-17.  - Exposició coorganitzada
  20. ^ Catalogue number exposure 1
  21. ^ Catalogue number on the exhibit : 23
  22. ^ Catalogue number on the exhibit : 42
  23. ^ Catalogue number on the exhibit : 19, repr. p.26
  24. ^ a b "Tête de Paysan Catalan (Head of a Catalan Peasant)". National Gallery of Scotland. Retrieved 2011-11-17. 
  25. ^ image of the work
  26. ^ "Information about the work on the website of the museum. Ref MOM 445". Moderna Museet. Retrieved 2011-09-24. 

Further reading[edit]