The Hunter (Catalan Landscape) Joan Miro Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Catalan Landscape is one of the few complex surrealist paintings by Joan Miro where each and every object within the composition has been identified and documented. This gives us a much better understanding of the theories and imagination that inspired these abstract creations.

In the summer of 1923 Miro embarked on a strong push into landscape painting, at least from his own surrealist, abstract perspective. He believed that he could represent his local area in Catalonia more accurately in his paintings that even nature could achieve. This was no arrogance, just a pure commitment to his own work and the ability of compositions to be tailored precisely to one's own intentions as opposed to the randomness of the natural world. Miro was in Montroig during this period after his annual spell in Paris, France. Other than the two-tone background which roughly sets out a sky and land scene, there is very little to indicate the presence of a landscape on first viewing of this painting.

The Hunter (Catalan Landscape) is dated as being from 1923-24 and is now a part of the impressive collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The artwork was intially planned to depict a local peasant barbecuing a rabbit but eventually morphed into a far deeper construction. This would explain how the piece stretched over a longer period to complete than you might otherwise expect when considering the relatively small size of the canvas, as well as the relatively simplistic brush strokes used by this artist. Several quotes from both the artist plus some of his colleagues regarding this particular artwork as well as this period of Miro's career in general have been included in the quotes section. It is certainly one of the more significant paintings from his whole life and also captures a region which was particularly important to him.

We are particularly fortunate that the artist produced a short glossary which identified each and every element of this complex scene. The top left contains many facial features of the hunter, which makes sense once you become aware of this. You will see an ear, eye, moustache and pipe, with adjoined smoke. The curved line below represents his arm and the large triangle that sits nearer the middle of the composition represents his gun. Further touches below complete the structure of this figure. These represent the features that create the title of the painting but there is much more to see across the rest of the composition including flies, a sardine, various birds, vegetables plus the overall masses of colour which produce the sea, sky and land.

The Hunter (Catalan Landscape) in Detail Joan Miro