Joan Miró’s Tapestries
Tapestries built from Joan Miró’s “cartoons”? Yup, and blame it on a one Marie Cuttioli who during the 1920s decided to help revive the moribund ateliers of Aubusson by having them weave tapestries she would then sell in her shop in Paris. Must have been one heck of a fancy shop. She asked all her good buddies (you know, Picasso, Braque, Matisse, the line up) to create full-scale cartoons for tapestry. Alas, only Miró, who was fascinated with tapestry, came through.
Why do I even know this? Because my brother and his husband recently were hanging out in Spain and attended the Fundació Joan Miró where, low and behold, hung the Miró tapestry called “Tapestry of the Foundation,” a really, really huge Miró tapestry (525 by 700 centimeters). They dutifully took photos which I am sharing with you here.
But, this is not a tapestry in the strictest sense. and it was not woven at Aubusson since this tapestry was created in 1979. You can see there is a lot of Rya and textural stuff and big fat pieces of roving with the occasional warp showing. If you look on the internet for the straight tapestries woven from Miró’s cartoon you will see that they are flat, not textural, with nothing hanging off and out of them. The signature on the tapestry says Miró/Royo so I would assume Royo was the weaver.
So the photos I have here really remind me of some of the not-so-strict tapestry being woven lately with one big difference: these tapestries follow the cartoon perfectly despite the texture whereas many of the more recent textural weavings are not pictorial at all.
Factoid: Cuttioli exhibited a bunch of Miró tapestries along with the paintings that inspired them but, because it was the depression when she did this, collectors were not so keen on spending the big bucks for tapestries when the paintings could be had for so much less. And today, those tapestries are worth a tiny fraction of what the paintings are worth. Which really does not put a smile on my face but speaks volumes about the uphill battle that is the life of a tapestry weaver.
By the way, these tapestries were often woven in sets so there might be six of the same tapestry floating around this world. Kind of like a very limited edition print where the actual making of each tapestry “print” took months.
I have said this before, but need to mention it again because it’s a favorite triva point of mine: Paintings used to be called “The poor man’s tapestry.” I don’t understand why we’ve never been able to get back to that!
Do your own research on the internet and see how many of the older Miro inspired tapestries you can find. Please report back if you find something of interest. Would also like to know if you’ve ever woven a tapestry or bead piece based on a famous piece of art.