How to identify a piece of art?
August 17, 2010 12:55 PM   Subscribe

Help identifying a Miró painting, seen in the Fundació Joan Miró.

I visited the wonderful Miró gallery in Barcelona recently, and saw a painting there I liked and would maybe like to get a print of. Trouble is that because photography wasn't allowed in the gallery, I wasn't able to make a note of it. And I stupidly forgot to write down even the year it was painted in.

I doubt it's possible to identify from a description alone, so what I'm really asking for is a book recommendation or an online art gallery that has a lot of his paintings in so I can have a search for it myself. Or, even better, a catalogue with pictures (even thumbnails would do) of what's in the gallery. I have had a look myself on the gallery website, online print shops, fan sites etc., before asking MeFi, but all I've been able to find are his most famous works. I've never had to do this before, so I don't know where I'd even go about looking. Is there no substitute to just picking out a load of books in a library and flicking through?

Just in case there's a Miró expert on here, here's a description anyway:

It's a small painting, nothing especially special for a Miró, it's one of his works titled simply "Painting", it's quite small, and it's most prominent feature is an angular blue star-like shape. There's not a lot else on the painting, aside from some lines and a very small red/green/black circle.

Thanks for the help all.
posted by mattkh to Media & Arts (13 answers total)
This one?
posted by Lutoslawski at 1:10 PM on August 17, 2010

Response by poster: No. The background was a lot darker, the star smaller, and the star was unobscured too. The painting as a whole was a lot more stark and less busy too. Thanks for the suggestion though.
posted by mattkh at 1:17 PM on August 17, 2010

Response by poster: But I would say that the star in that picture, shape and colour wise, is very similar.
posted by mattkh at 1:21 PM on August 17, 2010

Best answer: A laborious but effective (and probably enjoyable) way to identify a work of art is to search through the catalogue raisonné, which is a book containing a complete list (hopefully with prints) of that artist's works. In your case, there seems to be a six-volume catalogue raisonné of Miró's paintings, see here. If you can get to a library which has the catalogue, you should be able to find your painting.
posted by beniamino at 1:23 PM on August 17, 2010 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: That's wonderful, that's exactly what I'm looking for. Other suggestions are still welcome because I won't be able to get to a library that will (probably) have that for at least 6 weeks.
posted by mattkh at 1:31 PM on August 17, 2010

This sounds similar to what you're looking for, so it might be from the same period (1971). It definitely wouldn't be something you'd find in the first volume of Miro's catalogue.
posted by brina at 1:39 PM on August 17, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks again. And again the star is similar, except that painting is still a lot busier. The star was clearly the most prominent feature on the painting I saw, with only a few other features being shown.
posted by mattkh at 1:44 PM on August 17, 2010

It looks like the museum's website has the whole collection online with pictures.
posted by agatha_magatha at 1:46 PM on August 17, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, but they're only selected works. Unless I'm missing something.
posted by mattkh at 3:33 PM on August 17, 2010

I don't suppose it's the one shown on the cover of the book here?
posted by missix at 4:19 PM on August 17, 2010

Response by poster: No, but thank you. :) Getting closer though.
posted by mattkh at 11:07 AM on August 18, 2010

No one has said this, so forgive me stating the obvious - have you tried a half hour surfing Google Images?
posted by DrtyBlvd at 4:13 PM on August 19, 2010

Was looking for another Miro work and found this gallery - have you check these paintings yet? I didn't see one that matched your description right off the bat.
posted by muddgirl at 3:34 PM on September 20, 2010

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