The Hermitage

Joan Miró, Spanish, 1893 - 1983

Made in Montroig, Tarragona, Spain, Europe


Oil, crayon, and graphite on canvas

45 × 57 9/16 inches (114.3 × 146.2 cm)

© Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ADAGP, Paris

Curatorial Department:
European Painting

* Gallery 181, Modern and Contemporary Art, first floor

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
The Louise and Walter Arensberg Collection, 1950

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This painting dates to 1924, the year in which André Breton (French, 1896-1966) announced the founding of Surrealism in the journal La Révolution surréaliste. Joan Miró was among the movement’s earliest members and showed his work in its 1925 debut exhibition in Paris. Constantly inventing new subjects and techniques, he was also one of Surrealism’s most experimental artists. In The Hermitage, Miró transforms the mountains of Catalonia in northeast Spain, his native region, into a sawtooth landscape—the foreground figures and celestial bodies above rendered with the most basic lines and colors. These elements, including the building at left, a rural hideaway, seem on the verge of losing their bond to reality.


With Galerie Pierre, Paris, as of June 1925 [1]; Louis Aragon (1897-1982), Paris [2]; sold to Louise and Walter C. Arensberg, Los Angeles, by June 1934, probably through Marcel Duchamp as agent [3]; gift to PMA, 1950. 1. The painting was exhibited in the Galerie Pierre "Exposition Joan Miró", June 12-27, 1925. See also Dupin and Lelong-Mainaud, Joan Miró: Catalogue Raisonné, Paintings, vol. 1: 1908-1930, Paris, 1999, no. 102, and Lanchner, Miró (MoMA exh. cat.), 1993, no. 36. Pierre Loeb, owner of Galerie Pierre, had a contract with Miró from 1925 onwards. 2. See Louis Aragon, "Barcelone à l'aube," Les Lettres françaises, no. 1287, June 11, 1969, p. 1: "cet 'Ermitage' que j'eus quelque temps chez moi .... Mon tableau est maintenant au Philadelphia Museum of Art." Aragon was a founder of the Surrealist literary movement in 1924, with which he broke in 1932. He met Miró in 1925 (not 1924 as Aragon stated; see Lanchner, Miró, 1993, p. 323 and p. 350, notes 223 and 225). 3. Lent by the Arensbergs to the exhibition "French Paintings from the 15th Century to the Present Day," California Palace of the Legion of Honor, June 8-July 8, 1934. In his provenance notes made for the Arensbergs dated 8 September 1951 (PMA, Arensberg Archives), Duchamp stated that "The Hermitage" was not purchased through him; however, the PMA Arensberg Archives include a photo of the painting with the title and price in Duchamp's handwriting (copy in curatorial file), indicating that he probably served as intermediary.

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