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Modern and Contemporary Art
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Artist: Joan Miró, Spanish, 1893–1983

Le renversement (Somersault)


Oil, graphite, charcoal, and tempera on canvas board

92.4 × 72.8 cm (36 3/8 × 28 11/16 in.)
framed: 95.4 × 76.2 × 5.7 cm (37 9/16 × 30 × 2 1/4 in.)
Gift of Collection Société Anonyme
Painted in the summer of 1924 during Joan Miró’s annual sojourn in Montroig, Spain, Le Renversement (“The Toppling”) offers a glimpse into the artist’s imagination. Here, Miró’s rotation of the customary horizontal orientation of landscape painting is only one of a series of reversals in a painting that suggests a Surrealist dream-world. The mustachioed stick figure, flanked by exclamations “AH!” and “HoO!”, inhabits a world of text and image, sight and sound, drawing on Surrealism’s roots in poetry. The title provides a significant key to the work’s central idea, suggesting the deliberate overthrow of traditional, rational relationships.
On view
20th century

James Johnson Sweeney, Joan Miró, exh. cat. (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 1941), 28–29.

Collection of the Société Anonyme: Museum of Modern Art 1920 (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1950), 108-09, ill.

Harold Rosenberg, “Fertile Fields,” New Yorker (December 23, 1972): 61–64.

Joan Miró, exh. cat. (New York: Acquavella Galleries, Inc., 1972), no. 10.

Ruth L. Bohan, The Société Anonyme’s Brooklyn Exhibition: Katherine Dreier and Modernism in America (Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Research Press, 1982), 150, fig. 10.

Robert L. Herbert, Eleanor S. Apter, and Elise K. Kenney, The Société Anonyme and the Dreier Bequest at Yale University: A Catalogue Raisonné (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1984), 462, no. 470, ill.

Elan Vital oder das Auge des Eros, exh. cat. (Munich: Haus der Kunst, 1994), 563, no. 438.

Ruth L. Bohan et al., The Société Anonyme: Modernism for America, ed. Jennifer Gross, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2006), 179, 199, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.