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Still Life – Glove and Newspaper

Updated: Jun 6, 2020

13th May 2020, Museum of Modern Art, New York (virutually)

Over the past five weeks, I looked at art through a variety of themes: Places & Spaces, Art & Identity, Transforming Everyday Objects, and Art & Society.

A year ago, I was enjoying Joan Punyet Miro’s exhibition Birth of the World in MoMa, New York. It seems almost symbolic that I have chosen to explore his oil painting titled Still Life – Glove and Newspaper from 1921, (Paris) for my final assignment of my first online course Modern Art & Ideas!

His painting seems so relevant now at this COVID-19 pandemic. One can find all of five themes which we have been exploring in the past five weeks.

Quoting: You have to be an International Catalan; a homespun Catalan is not, and never will be, worth anything in the world,” declared Miro after his first visit to Paris, in 1920. The five objects on the table – Miro’s own glove, cane, an artist’s portfolio, a newspaper, and a pitcher adorned with a Gallic rooster – compose a symbolic self-portrait of a Catalan artist abroad.

iPhone photo (2019) of the original oil painting displayed in MoMa New York

I feel that his still life painting captures a mixture of a self-portrait (identity as Marc Chagall in his I and the Village from 1911), places and spaces reference to his homeland Spain and also, transforming everyday objects just like Meret Oppenheim’s philosophy behind her surrealistic masterpiece) – making this painting so flat, as well as being political and making a statement about belonging with his newspaper hint.

I really like that Miro included his portfolio in his painting as he truly demonstrates that he is an artist and he wants to highlight this to the public. His work has made a strong impression on me as the way he uses colour balance, styling and assembling objects on the table, how he uses his own identity to stand out from the crowd when he is living and working abroad. It resonates with me a lot as I am doing the same, using my Czech identity and roots in my creative work too.

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