Déjeuner sur l'herbe II (The Luncheon on the Grass II)

Miquel Barceló

Felanitx, Majorca, Spain, 1957
  • Date: 
  • Technique: 
    Mixed media, collage and industrial painting on canvas
  • Descriptive technique: 
    A collage with glued fabric and paper applications, affixed with industrial paint, cargo materials and with polyvinyl acetate finishes
  • Dimensions: 
    206 x 330 cm
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The early works of Miquel Barceló during the 1960s stem from a series of conceptual practices that formed the groundwork for his later language, such as the analysis and treatment of a material in relation to the effect that the passing of time has on it. In the early 80s, he worked on paintings in constant dialogue with a received cultural legacy from the masters of classical painting to the works of Pablo Picasso and Marcel Duchamp. Barceló did Déjeuner sur l’herbe II (The Luncheon on the Grass II) after his first visit to West Africa in 1988, a time when he was mainly working on paper, doing hundreds of sketches in gouaches and pigments collected from the banks of the Niger. Back in Europe, a fundamental theme appeared in his canvas paintings: the African desert, taken from those first sketches and his memory, with a radical stripping back of the visual and conceptual referents. The treatment of the whites in his attempts to capture the blinding desert light extends that feeling of emptiness that characterises the chromatism of the entire series of white paintings that Déjeuner sur l’herbe II is taken from. The title is an explicit references to the work of the same name by Édouard Manet, one of the key points in the formal renewal of modern painting, whose theme is adapted to a different context, which is geographically locatable (as the African desert) but remains ahistoric since there is no cultural reference or human presence.