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Carnaval d'Arlequin (Carnival of Harlequin)

Joan Miró (Spanish, 1893–1983). Carnaval d'Arlequin (Carnival of Harlequin), 1924–25. Oil on canvas, 26 x 36 5/8 inches (66 x 93 cm). Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; Room of Contemporary Art Fund, 1940 (RCA1940:8). © Successió Miró S.L. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

© Successió Miró S.L. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© Successió Miró S.L. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© Successió Miró S.L. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

© Successió Miró S.L. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Image downloads are for educational use only. For all other purposes, please see our Obtaining and Using Images page.

Joan Miró

Spanish, 1893-1983

Carnaval d'Arlequin (Carnival of Harlequin), 1924-1925

oil on canvas

support: 26 x 36 5/8 inches (66.04 x 93.0275 cm); framed: 36 3/4 x 47 x 3 1/8 inches (93.34 x 119.38 x 7.94 cm)

Collection Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York

Room of Contemporary Art Fund, 1940

RCA1940:8

Currently On View

More Details

Inscriptions

signature, dated / front, bottom left / Miró. / 1924-25
signature, dated / back / Joan Miró / Carnaval d'Arlequin / 1924-25

Provenance

by November 1925, collection M. P. E., Paris [possibly Monsieur Paul Eluard];
collection André Breton, Paris, 1926;
collection René Gaffé, by June 1929;
sold to Zwemmer Gallery, July 1936;
sold to Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Griffin, July 22, 1936;
sold through Zwemmer Gallery, London, to Douglas Cooper (The Mayor Gallery), London, 1937;
to Pierre Matisse Gallery, March 5, 1937;
sold to the Albright Art Gallery, March 9, 1940

Class

Paintings (visual works)

Work Type

Oil painting (visual work)

This information may change due to ongoing research. Glossary of Terms

Verbal Description Audio

“Carnival of Harlequin” is a climactic work from a series of paintings Joan Miró infused with the color scheme and landscape of his native Catalonia, Spain. The curious figure depicted in the central-left portion of the canvas with a half-red, half-blue mask and diamond pattern on his tunic references Italy’s commedia dell’arte. In this popular form of theater, the Harlequin is a foolish stock character who is perpetually unsuccessful in love. Artists often used the Harlequin as a stand-in for themselves. Miró came to know of this tradition through the work of Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973). At the time Miró created this painting he had so little money that all he could afford to serve a friend for dinner were radishes. He described coming home at the end of a day without food and, in a kind of trance, drawing the forms that were the genesis of this painting. Hence, the hole in Harlequin’s stomach may allude to Miró’s own poverty and hunger. The other characters throughout the composition, however, seem to be having a wonderful time. It is believed that the title of the painting refers to Mardi Gras, the celebration that precedes fasting during the season of Lent in the Catholic liturgical calendar. Many revelers have characteristics of both humans and animals, and some are anthropomorphized objects, such as the ladder with an eye and ear. The hybrid creatures are playing, singing, dancing, and celebrating, with music literally in the air.
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