Joan Miró

(Spanish, 1893–1983)

A Drop of Dew Falling from the Wing of a Bird Awakens Rosalie Asleep in the Shade of a Cobweb

, 1939
Oil on basketweave fabric, Image: 25 3/4 x 36 1/8 in.; Frame: 39 1/2 x 29 in.
Purchase, Mark Ranney Memorial Fund, 1948.3


"At Varengeville-sur-Mer, in 1939, began a new stage in my work... It was about the time when the war broke out. I felt a deep desire to escape. I closed myself within myself purposely. The night, music, and the stars began to play a major role in suggesting my paintings." 
          – Joan Miró

Forced to leave Spain in 1936 for Paris and then the Normandy coast until 1940, Miró attempted to commune with nature to escape the tragedies of the Spanish Civil War and World War II. He painted A Drop of Dew during a brief period of relative safety—sometime between August and December 1939.

Miró stated that he made no distinction between painting and poetry. Although his work seems "automatic," he carefully planned both his compositions and his poetic titles. In early 1940, the Miró family fled from Normandy to Spain, by way of Paris. It is possible that A Drop of Dew was one of the few works that Miró carried with him.

The University of Iowa purchased A Drop of Dew in 1948, from the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York, with income from the Mark Ranney Memorial Fund, which was established in 1908. Martha Ranney's will stipulates that the endowment be held in perpetuity for the purchase of art to enhance and promote the study of visual arts. Mark Ranney Fund purchases have strengthened the UIMA's reputation as a force among Modern Art collections and have helped attract other art donors to the UIMA, including Peggy Guggenheim and Owen and Leone Elliott.