An Original Joan Miró Drawing, Created for and Inscribed to Rosamond Bernier
Miró, Joan. Original Drawing with Autograph Inscription. January 14, 1971.
8 1/4 x 11 5/8 inches; multi-colored crayon on paper; inscribed in autograph blue ballpoint ink below: pour Peggy Bernier / affectueux hommage de Miró / 14 | I | 71. Originally created on first free endpaper of Jacques Dupin’s 1961 book, Miró (Paris: Flammarion, 1961); later removed.
An original drawing in crayon by the Spanish artist Joan Miró, dedicated underneath to the noted art lecturer and author Rosamond Bernier, and incorporating many of the colors, shapes, and symbols Miró was using in his work at the time.
Rosamond Bernier first became acquainted with Miró not long after she moved to Paris as Vogue’s European culture correspondent in the late 1940s, and they quickly formed a close and lasting friendship. As she recounted in an interview with the Brooklyn Rail:
Oh, a great affection for Miró. We remained friends until he died in 1983. He was very silent most of the time, but you always felt there were all kinds of turbulent things going on inside. And by the way, he refused to speak Spanish with me because he so hated the central Franco government. He said, “Je suis Catalán,” with that Catalan accent. Even when I was no longer running L’OEIL, I would fly from Paris to Palma to come and see him. His wife, Pilar, in the last decade of his life, was very protective of his privacy, but I was counted among the few whom Miró wanted to see.
In her 2011 memoir, Some of My Lives, she wrote about a 1954 interview she conducted with Miró for her new magazine, L’Oeil, where she spent a week with him in Barcelona, wore couture Schiaparelli, and was photographed by Brassaï; she also wrote about their friendship in her 1991 book, Matisse, Picasso, Miró: As I Knew Them, and featured him in 2006 as the topic of one of her famous Metropolitan Museums lectures.
This particular drawing was most likely created for Bernier just before she moved back to New York in 1971, following her divorce from her second husband, Georges Bernier, who had been granted sole ownership of L’Oeil.
As auction records show, Miró had a tradition of illustrating his inscriptions, most of which were executed in crayon. However, many of them constitute just a few simple lines, as opposed to this far more formal construction created for Bernier. A sign of how close their friendship was lies in Miró’s use of “Peggy” in the inscription underneath the drawing: this was a diminutive of her middle name, Margaret, and one
by which she was referred to only by those who knew her intimately.
It also incorporates the same color palette and structural elements Miró was then using in his art, most notably for series of lithographs he created for Derriere le Miroir in both 1967 and 1971 (nos. 164/165 and 193/194); works from the latter issue were shown at Galerie Maeght in Paris in the fall of 1971, ten months after this drawing was created.
When compared with the inscribed drawing, one can see readily the similar use of black lines to create a central form, as well as the incorporation of asterisk-like stars and strokes with ball endings, both trademark Miró motifs. The Bernier drawing in its spareness also correlates to preliminary sketches Miró historically made to work out spatial layouts for his finished pieces, which may indicate this work was not only part of that same process for the 1971 lithographs, but also—and perhaps more particularly—for his 1974 collection of lithographs, Le Courtisan grotesque (The Grotesque Courtier).