Though weighty and monumental in size and mass, the bulbous forms and spiky features of Miró’s bird add a touch of whimsicality to the piece, especially given its business-like surroundings. That juxtaposition of the serious and the sublime seems to match what we know of the Spanish surrealist’s sense of humor.
“The animal’s undeniable presence suggests the weight of history, while its improbable form could be the product of childlike fantasies,” is how one critic described Oiseau. “Robust, witty, awkward, and endearing, this sculpture epitomizes Miró’s gift for sparking the imagination with life-affirming artwork.”
To some the sculpture suggests a hybrid—part avian and part human. This and other fantastical creatures by Miró were inspired, according to the artist, by the unconscious mind through dreams.