Joan Miró, Queen Louise of Prussia, 1929

Flat warm-colored shapes create a room with an abstracted figure at right of center

Joan Miró

(Barcelona, Spain, 1893–1983, Palma de Mallorca, Spain)

Queen Louise of Prussia


Oil on canvas

32 1/2 x 39 3/4 in. (82.6 x 101 cm)

Meadows Museum, SMU, Dallas. Algur H. Meadows Collection, MM.67.16

Listen to Meadows Museum docent Andre Gorzell discuss this work (2:00 minutes)

Audio Transcript

Joan Miró (1893–1983)

Queen Louise of Prussia, 1929

by Andre Gorzell, Meadows Museum docent

Sometimes we know a great deal about a work of art, and sometimes we don’t. In this case, the artist left several studies and notes about this painting, yet there is still much that is left to the imagination of the viewer.   

Miró’s oil painting on canvas Queen Louise of Prussia was painted in 1929. Miró, a significant figure in the avant-garde art scene of the early twentieth century, was born in Barcelona, Spain, in 1893. Although he associated with Surrealist writers and artists, Miró did not consider himself strictly so, having worked with those who identified with Fauvism, Cubism, and Dadaism. All of these movements originated in the early part of the twentieth century, and each had the goal of revolutionizing modern thought, markedly through the arts. 

The painting, Queen Louise of Prussia, is one of four paintings from Miró’s Imaginary Portrait series, and the simple shape, line, and limited color palette belie the artist’s formal training. As a seasoned artist impassioned by events, ideas, technological and scientific advances, Miró was moving toward a resolve to “assassinate painting.” Miró was inspired by two images he discovered in the advertising section of a newspaper: (1) An image of a Junkers Motors Super Diesel Engine, which served as inspiration for the bell-shaped figure on the bottom part of the picture plane and (2) An image of a shirt collar from “Rodriguez I. Ferrer Camisers,” which inspired the curvilinear portion of the figure.  

Several preparatory sketches, notes, and drawings prior to the finished painting demonstrate Miró’s process, and although the final work may appear to be simplified lines and shapes, a great deal of preliminary planning is apparent. Upon close inspection, a pencil grid is visible beneath the paint of the finished canvas, indicating Miró’s formal training and sophisticated familiarity with proportion.