Reunited at the Centre Pompidou, One by One
It took no less than nine years for the Centre Pompidou to reunite the three Blues. The first to join the Museum collection was the central painting in the triptych (n° II), donated by the Menil Foundation in memory of Jean Ménil in 1984. The Houston-based American foundation had already shown itself to be one of the most generous donors of the Centre Pompidou at the time of its opening. It was thanks to this foundation that essential works by Claes Oldenburg, Jackson Pollock, Larry Rivers and Andy Warhol had entered the collection at that time.
Four years later, the French State was able to acquire Blue III from the Pierre Matisse Gallery, one year before the death of its owner and its closure.
Blue I finally joined the other two paintings in 1993. This purchase was made possible by the support of the Fonds du Patrimoine and a subscription including a number of key patrons, most of them linked to the history of the Centre Pompidou (several of whom have chaired the Society of Friends of the Museum), Sylvie and Eric Boissonnas, Jacques Boissonnas, Hélène and Michel David-Weill, Pierre Bergé, Yves Saint Laurent, Maison Yves Saint Laurent, and the Society of Friends of the Museum. This acquisition was made in memory of Dominique Bozo, Director of the Musée National d’Art Moderne and then President of the Centre Pompidou, who had just died.
The 1961 triptych was thus finally reunited, 32 years after being exhibited for the first time.
Allée centrale, Musée, Niveau 5, 2020
The Three Blues at the Centre Pompidou
Nothing can replace direct contemplation of this triptych that is displayed on a permanent basis in the Museum (level 5, Room 24), of which it is one of the highlights. Like the gouaches of Vence Chapel by Henri Matisse (on show only occasionally for conservation reasons) or the wall of André Breton’s studio (which also features two works by Miró), this ensemble occupies a dedicated space and offers visitors an incomparable immersive experience.
On account of their fragility, it is only rarely that the Centre Pompidou lends the three Blues to other institutions. Most recently, the public had the opportunity to discover them on the occasion of the “Miró” retrospective organised by the national galleries of the Grand Palais in 2018-2019.
The three Blues are obviously not the only works by Miró on permanent display at the Centre Pompidou, which holds a Miró collection on a fitting scale for the essential position occupied by the artist in the history of 20th-century art. Made up of 148 items covering the whole of his career, the collection comprises 24 paintings, 88 drawings or collages, 28 prints, 7 sculptures and one ceramic work. It is by many different kinds of acquisition – purchases, gifts from generous donors, including the artist himself and his galiéristes, and also payments in lieu of estate duties – that this exceptional collection, no doubt like no other anywhere in the world, has been brought together.
Interview with Joan Punyet Miró, national galleries of the Grand Palais, Paris , 2018-2019
Further reading (bibliography)
About Joan Miró
- Joan Miró, Écrits et entretiens, presented by Margit Rowell, Paris, Daniel Lelong publisher, 1986.
- Jacques Dupin, Miró, Paris, Flammarion and Galerie Lelong, 1993 (re-edited 2004).
- Jacques Dupin and Ariane Lelong-Mainaud, Joan Miró. Catalogue raisonné. Paintings, Paris, Daniel Lelong and Successió Joan Miró, 6 vol., 1999-2004.
- Catalogue of the exhibition “Joan Miró. 1917-1934. The Birth of the World.” Agnès de la Beaumelle (dir.), Paris, Éditions du Centre Pompidou, 2004.
- Rémi Labrusse, Miró. Un feu dans les ruines, Paris, Hazan, 2004.
- Catalogue of the exhibition “Miró. The Colour of My Dreams”, Jean-Louis Prat (dir.), Paris, RMN, 2018.
About the three Blues
- Margit Rowell, in the catalogue of the exhibition “Miró. La collection du Centre Georges Pompidou, Musée National d’Art Moderne,” Bordeaux, CAPC Musée d’art contemporain / Paris, Éditions du Centre Pompidou, 1999, p. 110-117.
- Agnès de la Beaumelle, “Bleu I, Bleu II, Bleu III”, in Collection Art moderne. La collection du Centre Pompidou, Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris, Éditions du Centre Pompidou, 2006, p. 469-470.
Reproduced Works and resources
- Exhibition view with Blue II, permanent collection. Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Pompidou, 1985. (room 24, level 5). From left to right, in the foreground : Alexander Calder, Requin et baleine, 1933. Alexander Calder, Constellation, 1943. Alexander Calder, Four Leaves and Three Petals, 1939. Alexander Calder, Mobile sur deux plans, 1962. In the background: Joan Miró, Bleu II, 4 mars 1961. Joan Miró , Silence, 17 mai 1968. Joan Miró, La course de taureaux, 08 octobre 1945. © Successió Miró / Adagp, Paris, 2020 © Calder Foundation, New York / Adagp, Paris 2020 © photo Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI
- Central Aisle View, Museum, Level 5, Centre Pompidou, 2020
- Miró retouching Bleu II in the Maeght gallery, June 1961. Print. Kandinsky Library, Joan Miró collection © All rights reserved © photo Bibliothèque Kandinsky, MNAM/CCI, Centre Pompidou – Dist. RMN-Grand Palais
- Current hanging, permanent collection in the Centre Pompidou, Museum, 2020. Room with the Blues in the Centre Pompidou ( room 24, level 5) . From left to right: Joan Miró, Femme, 1969. Joan Miró, Bleu I et II, 4 mars 1961. © Successió Miró / Adagp, Paris 2020 © photo Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI/ Bertrand Prévost
- Exhibition view “Miró, Les trois Bleus”, Museum Gallery , Musée national d’art moderne, Centre Pompidou, april-june 1994. From left to right: Joan Miró, Bleu I et II, 4 mars 1961. © Successió Miró / Adagp, Paris 2020 © photo Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI
- Exhibition View ” Chefs-d’œuvre ?”, Centre Pompidou -Metz , may 2010-sept 2011. From left to right: Joan Miró, Bleu I, II,III 4 mars 1961. © Successió Miró / Adagp, Paris 2020 © photo Centre Pompidou, MNAM-CCI/ Georges Meguerditchian
- Interview with Joan Punyet Miró , retrospective « Miró », the national galleries of the Grand Palais, 3 october 2018-4 february 2019.© Successió Miró / Adagp, Paris 2020 © ARTE / Rmn-Grand Palais / Youbelive