What do the objects scattered around an artist’s studio reveal about the artist or what does the clutter of a writer’s den reveal about the writer. An artist’s studio is a very personal space. Stacked along the paint-splattered walls are likely to be canvases, some untouched, some started but un-finished and some perhaps ready to show the client or display in an exhibition. Some may sit there for years until they are rediscovered and finished off or painted over. Scattered around are likely to be paint pots, brushes, rags, turpentine, books, models, drawings, paintings by other artists, photographs and other quirky or inspirational objects. Here is the artist’s den, a place of sanctuary, a personal space into which only a select few are allowed to intrude.
Many artist’s studios survive beyond the artist. Eduardo Paolozzi’s studio has been recreated within the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art in Edinburgh while Francis Bacon’s studio at 7 Reece Mews in London was donated to The Hugh Lane Gallery and over 7000 items had to be carefully catalogued, recorded and transported across to Dublin.
Joann Miro moved into his new studio in Mallorca in 1956 and he worked there until his death in 1983. The studio is open to the public as part of the Pilar i Joan Miro Mallorca Foundation though, at the moment ,it has a few things missing as, for a short period, a recreation of the studio is here in London at the Mayoral Gallery in Mayfair, before travelling to New York.
Designed by the Catalan architect Josep Lluis Sert, it took two years for Miro to settle into the studio in which he worked until his death in 1983. The recreation included representation of the stone walls, the tiled floors and even the paint marks on the floor on which stand easels with paintings, furniture with objects and the tools of the artist and the famous rocking chair in which he relaxed and was photographed.
The recreation is supplemented in the downstairs gallery with photographs, drawings and correspondence between the artist and the architect regarding the new studio.
The 22 paintings on display are worth seeing as an exhibition of Miro’s work from this period in their own right; their location in a recreation of the space in which they were painted is an added bonus which gives context and understanding to Miro’s work.