Among the moderns, Mr. Simón has collected a few minor but choice Picassos. Two sketches show off the prodigious 22-year-old’s pouncing, efficient energy. And the Cubist Still Life with Dove, executed in 1919 when Picasso’s interest in Cubism had long been displaced by other preoccupations, is less clenched and studied than his earlier work: its planes are loose, floating, and soft. Along with the El Greco and Ribera pictures, the most bountiful moment in From El Greco to Dalí is Miró’s Woman Before the Moon.
Ah, Miró of the finished line that never looks completed; of kited hands and faces and moons and stars; of celestial amazement and the interconnectedness of things. A female beholding the moon recurs frequently in his work. In the picture here, the woman’s head is shaped like a rearview mirror, her raised arms look like the parentheses of bulls’ horns, and a pale green moon chevrons across the night sky. In the southwest and northeast corners of the picture, Miró applied ruddy pink and vaporous yellow, respectively, on canvas sanded down to suggest the pulverized hues of sunset and sunrise. It carries the DNA that makes Miró’s art so irreducible — its visionary, humane, earthy grace. ■
From El Greco to Dalí: Great Spanish Masters from the Pérez Simón Collection is on view at the San Diego Museum of Art until November 6, 1450 El Prado, 619-232-7931.