Ubu’s Childhood Years - L’ Enfance d’ Ubu

Artist’s Name
Author’s Name
Joan Miró (1893-1983)
Joan Miró (1893-1983)
1975, Paris
Printed in one volume, size 32,5 x 50,5 cm.
Manuscript of Joan Miró
20 coloured original lithographs
Printed on ‘vélin d’ Arches’ paper:
  • 120 copies, numbered 1-120
  • 20 copies, off the market, numbered I-XX
King Ubu expressed Joan Miró so deeply that he felt he should continue the story on a personal level and using his own humour and drawing codes, liberate Alfred Jarry’s satirical style. Miró’s ironic and imaginary universe is once again identified with Ubu’s character and existence through Ubu at Balearic Islands (1971) - for which Miró composed a lively, animated text - and through out Ubu’s Childhood years (1975), where his drawings are as charming as a child’s. Miró’s talent unfolds page by page, justifying once again the notion that his surrealistic works are the 20th century’s most original. At 78 years of age, Tériade ends his publishing activities with Ubu’s Childhood years.

In the first book, Miró places Ubu in the same space that he had also chosen to spend the remainder of his life: the Balearic Islands. The complete identification of artist and protagonist continues inside the large pages of this book, in which inspiration and richness of imagery nearly compete with the original creator, Alfred Jarry. By means of automatic writing, where free association of words and memories turns into the highest inspiration, Miró introduces us to Ubu’s world with his exclamations in expression. The written word becomes a pure point that is translated without changes into plastic composition. The artist uses this dynamic confessional means of expression with simplicity and in combination with the remaining symbols. He, therefore, restricts the control of consciousness and creates a poetic spirit, establishing his belief that painting is poetry and poetry is painting.

In both of these books, Miró remains true to the basic principles of Surrealism, expressing the power of the unconscious, freed from any logic. Miró transforms the images of dreams and his imagination into strong optical games that express with absolute truthfulness the secret relations to the world of a youthful as well as an adult Ubu. Miró’s colourful line improvises freely along with humour inside the macrocosm of the tiny eccentric beings that inhabit our imagination. The monochrome and neutral backdrop on which they are drawn, symbolizes the void space of a dream’s surroundings and provides them with the ability to move freely. The graceful, peculiar figures of animals and human beings, his shapes and his bizarre geometrical contraptions, alternate with abrupt lines, stains of colour and spiral forms, offering multiple symbolic possibilities, metaphors and unexpected connections. By proposing the equivalent of a language of the subconscious, Miró instinctively creates paintings where symbols and codes dominate.