A Toute Épreuve
Fernand Mourlot, Joan Miró et Jean Célestin, rue Barrault en 1977 (mourlot.free.fr)

Artist: Joan Miró Spanish (1893-1983)

Title: A Toute Épreuve

Plate: MP.55

Description: Condition A
from the "Affiches Originales" series. 
Printed by Mourlot Freres in Paris, 1959. 
Presented in 16 x 20 in. acid free, archival museum mat, with framing labels. Ready to frame. Shipped boxed flat via Fedex. 
Certificate of Authenticity.

Sheet Size: 9 1/4 in x 12 1/2 in 23.5 cm x 32 cm

Price: $195.00

A Toute Épreuve was one of the finest artist's books of the twentieth century and the most ambitious creation of Joan Miro, with text by the French poet Paul Éluard and original woodcuts by the Miró. A triumph of twentieth-century book art. The publisher, Gérald Cramer, first approached Miró with the idea to illustrate Éluard's book of poems in 1947.



Miró cut more than 230 woodblocks over a period of nearly eleven years to complete the project. In addition to traditional woodcut, he also used the technique of collotype-wood blocks collaged with various natural and manufactured materials-to add distinctions of texture and form to his designs. Early into the project, Miró wrote to his publisher "…I have made some trials which have allowed me to see what it was to make a book and not merely to illustrate it. Illustration is always a secondary matter. The important thing is that a book have all the dignity of a sculpture carved in marble." The result was a brilliantly inventive and harmonious interweaving of Miró's amorphous abstract imagery with Éluard's evocative poetry.


"... After the War, Miró returned to Paris, and it was here that he would truly discover lithography. I assigned one of our best press operators to Miró: Jean Célestin, who would become a close friend of the painter. The understanding that they shared from the start made for some excellent work. Miró was of a taciturn nature; Célestin would guess what it was he wanted, only a few words were necessary, Miró expressing briefly his idea, Célestin voicing his assent.


Keenly interested in the process, he wenton to produce several lithographs, in black, on stone, the magnificent Album 13series (1948) and several illustrative works for the books of his poet friendssuch as André Breton, Benjamin Péret, René Char, Tristan Tzara, Iliazd and André Verdet. For every exhibition he held at the gallery Maeght , he designed a poster, and further collaborated on the review Derrière le Miroir, for which he created some exceptional solo editions.


Towards the end of the sixties I proposed, as I had for Picasso, Chagall andBraque, that we compile a complete lithographic catalogue; he accepted and took direct part in the project. The first volume was published in 1972, with a preface by Michel Leiris and containing also twelve superb original compositions..." Fernand Mourlot


During the 1950s the renowned French printer, Fernand Mourlot, printed most of the "original" posters of the most important artists of the day. In 1959 they printed the series "Affiches Originales" for collectors. They are reduced lithographic versions of the "original" posters created by the contemporary masters, Picasso, Chagall, Braque, Matisse, Miró, Leger, and Dufy.