Master lithographer Fernand Mourlot was known for courting the exciting artists of the day, including the abstract surrealist Joan Miró. With his expert knowledge of lithography, together they achieved new possibilities with the printing process – turning it into a true art form.
The innovative Atelier Mourlot studio was opened by Fernand in 1895 on the popular rue Chabrol in Paris. After years of perfecting the limestone print process for the production of posters, Mourlot sought out artists to push the boundaries of the medium.
Miró first collaborated with Atelier Mourlot on a volume of surrealist compositions in 1948. Captivated by the variety of techniques and the quality of the outcome, Miró toiled away under the watchful eye of Mourlot, eventually creating over 1000 lithographic poster designs.
When Miró travelled to Paris in 1936 to show his work to a French audience, he ended up staying there in exile as the Spanish Civil War progressed rapidly.
Propelled by a lack of workspace, Miró became drawn to poetry. Stating in a letter to his art dealer Pierre Matisse, ‘Moving poetry exists in the humblest of things and the radiant spiritual forces that emanate from them’. He soon combined his written words with his paintings and lithographs, works which he called illustrated poems.
A reprint of the original plate created by Miró, this colour lithographic poster (below) was created for the promotion of ‘Les Lézard aux plumes d’or’ [The golden feathered lizards], a book of 13 lithographs produced by Galerie Mourlot in 1991 which were exhibited at Galerie Berggruen in Paris.
Look closely at the bottom and you will see that the artwork features a line of poetry in Mirós characterful lettering. This particular edition was pulled before lettering, making it an exceptional, collector’s piece.
In 1967, Atelier Mourlot opened a second studio on Bank Street, New York, under the direction of Fernand’s son, Jacques Mourlot. To support Atelier Mourlot’s transatlantic endeavour, Miró created this striking poster (below) which he signed himself in stone.
The Catalan artist had already spent a significant amount of time in New York in the 1940s – gaining recognition for his progressive work and influencing the next generation of Abstract Expressionists such as Alexander Calder, Mark Rothko, and Jackson Pollock – so it must have been rewarding to return in the 60s to support his friend Mourlot.
By branching out to America, Mourlot studios opened up a new world of possibilities – collaborating with an impressive line up of leading contemporary artists including Francis Bacon, Roy Liechtenstein and Calder.
Humans and birds were common themes in Miró’s work, with multiple pieces sharing similar names, and crossing into other mediums, including sculpture.
Miró used the practice of automatism to create this abstract piece (below) which is called ‘Personnage et Oiseau’ [Character and Bird]. Surrealist artists used automatism to unlock the creative possibilities of the subconscious brain. Sometimes they used hallucination, hypnosis and intoxication to guide them.
Taken from Miró’s 1969 painting, this rare lithographic print was made in 1984 by the master printers at Atelier Mourlot.
Featuring Miró’s ‘Constellations’, this lithographic poster (below) produced by Atelier Mourlot was created for the exhibition, ‘Les Lithographies de L’Atelier Mourlot’. The exhibition, which celebrated 50 years of lithography by Atelier Mourot, was held at the Seibu Department Stores in Japan in 1984.
Owing to his fascination with constellations, many of Miró’s works, like this one, featured stylised moons and stars..
Unlike his earlier constellation-themed artworks from the 1940s – which were painted on dark gouache ground reflective of the sombre mood in the wake of World War II – this lithographic poster, which is signed in stone by the artist himself, is a joyous representation of the stars, featuring his limited but expressive colour palette and linework.
Discover the collectible exhibition posters Hockney designed for Tate, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco Opera and more.
We catch up with her to discuss her unique artistic practice and the new signed limited edition prints she’s produced with us.
The past year has been filled with a range of exciting new King & McGaw launches. We asked our founder and CEO to reflect on his 2022 highlights and what’s on the horizon.
Learn more about her fascinating artistic practice and the newly-available limited edition knitted paint tubes she’s created in collaboration with us.
The celebrated designer’s new prints are now on display at her beautiful store in Marylebone. Here are a few highlights from the launch event.
Learn about the stories behind the famous football prints and posters in our collection.
Join us as we dive into the ‘Tarantinoverse’, exploring some of our favourite characters depicted in these original ‘Pulp Fiction’ posters, originally displayed in contemporary movie theatre foyers
We catch up with Bella at King & McGaw to discuss the stories behind her most famous designs and the new special edition prints she’s produced with us.
Discover our top picks, brought to you by many of our long-standing museum and art gallery partners including The Royal Academy, The National Gallery and The Courtauld.
Join us as we talk to Sarah Evans, the architect turned artist behind London-based design studio Oscar Francis about her work, inspirations and her experience of life as an artist during lockdown.
Arriving in November, an exclusive series of screen prints and limited edition prints by celebrated designer Bella Freud, drawn from her historic design archive.
Since its genesis in the nineteenth century, Hokusai’s Great Wave off Kanagawa’, has swept the world with its sublime beauty. We explore how the Japanese artist’s woodblock prints fascinated the likes of Vincent van Gogh, and still manage to beguile viewers today.
To welcome in the change of season, we revisit some of our favourite Vogue cover illustrations from our exclusive archive.
When Jack Nicholson delivered the chilling line ‘Heeere’s Johnny!’ in Stanely Kubrick’s legendary psychological thriller, he sent shockwaves of terror across America. Learn more about this advertisement poster designed for the film’s UK debut in 1980.
To celebrate our new release of John Everett Millais’ ‘The Bridesmaid’ print, produced in partnership with The Fitzwilliam Museum, we take a look at the painting’s symbolism alongside another of his iconic works, ‘Ophelia’.
01273 511 942
Mon–Fri, 9 am–5 pm
All art prints and images on this website are copyright protected and belong to their respective owners. All rights reserved.