The King's Jester (Le fou du roi)

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Joan Miró (Spanish, 1893–1983)
The King's Jester (Le fou du roi), 1926
Oil, pencil, and charcoal on canvas
45 × 57 1/2 in. (114.3 × 146.05 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Maurice W. Berger M1966.142
Photo credit: John Nienhuis, Dedra Walls
© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / Spain, VEGAP
Currently on View

In 1925–27 the Surrealist artist Joan Miró painted over 100 works in which a few shapes or figures float in an undifferentiated open space. In part the product of a hallucinatory state induced by extreme hunger during this period of poverty, works such as The King’s Jester were equally the visual expression of dreams and the unconscious that the Surrealists sought to tap into. Deceptively childlike in its simplicity, the composition exhibits a sophisticated ambiguity in elements with multiple readings: the jester’s red cap could be flames or a cockscomb; the black triangle of a body could be a mountain or volcano; the eyes could be rocks. The outline drawing does not contain or even follow the color areas. The painting hovers tantalizingly between figuration and abstraction.

This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.