Seated Woman is from a group of around fifty small-scale gouache works that Joan Miró made during the summer of 1935, which reflect his increasing anguish over the political turmoil and approaching civil war in Spain. He referred to this group of works as tableaux sauvages (savage paintings); they are characterized by their elegant lines, exaggerated forms, and brilliant color palettes. While at an initial glance, the disproportionate forms of this work may be unsettling, the figure is also elegant. Graceful lines trace her upper torso to her neck and even into her upswept hair. The flowing lines contradict key expressive elements in the composition, such as the figure’s raised arms, furrowed brow, and pursed lips, which almost make her seem as if she is recoiling in terror. Miró’s signature, floating free in the middle-right portion of the canvas, is perhaps a suggestion that the artist sees himself as part of the composition and envisions that he will be involved in events to come.
Label from Artists in Depth: Arp, Miró, Calder, March 25, 2011–April 15, 2012