Somewhere in the 1960’s, Duke Ellinngton visited the Fondation Maeght in St.Paul de Vence, France, where some of Joan Miro’s works were exhibited (they still are). The two artists met for the first time on that occasion and the encounter was caught on film by Norman Granz, who was then working on a documentary about improvisation in jazz music. Miro takes Duke on a guided tour of his sculptures while chatting away in French and Duke responds to the artist in English. After that, Duke sat down at his piano and improvised a song later known as “Blues for Joan Miro“. The two men couldn’t understand a word the other said, but they weren’t bothered by that. They were just enjoying themselves and each other’s art form.
I have to be honest with you; Miro is one of those painters who I never really understood. Although I visually enjoy his art, if I were to explain it to someone else, I don’t think I would know how. So reading about Miro and Ellinngton’s encounter made me realize that maybe not everything needs to be explained in order to be understood, maybe you just have to enjoy it beyond the restriction of language.
I chose this particular painting by Miro because it is one of his earlier works, when he was experimenting with different styles, trying to create his own visual language (trying to understand himself, as I am trying to understand him now). Although it is different from his famous works, what I like about this particular painting is the visual power created by the juxtaposition of such different surfaces: we have the wavy surface of the dress which gives you the impression of an optical illusion, and then there is the geometric background, and the lyrical presence of the flower on the dress. The composition of the model’s face seems to somehow combine all these dramatic contrasts becoming the central focus of the painting.
And what better choice of clothes that reflect these dramatic contrasts than a Dries van Noten item, combined with a pair of Marni shoes, and a beautiful brooch from Peta Kruger. If you can’t afford them, I guess you can always improvise 🙂
Joan Miro – Portrait of Juanita Obrador
Marni fringed leather brogues
Dries van Noten coat
Peta Kruger brooch