L’HOME DEL BARRET
A story that reminds us of how extraordinary plain lives can be.
Since the Spanish artist Joan Miró painted it in 1918, the painting has been called successively: El xofer, L’home del barret, Le chauffer and Man with a derby. It is now referred to as Portrait of Heriberto Casany and is on display at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth, Texas. But what was the story behind the painting? And behind Heriberto Casany, the man that features it? From family memories, the author draws the life of her grandmother’s brother, the main character in this novel, a testimony marked by history and the convulsive 1930s, but above all by the friendship that linked him to Joan Miró. The portrait that the painter made of him was destined to survive him, and to recapture him from the oblivion of time.
Excerpt from the book: “Miró asks him to try them all on and, finally, he decides to paint him with a black bowler -a derby- with a black silk ribbon. That afternoon Miró finishes off the portrait by painting in the background a little square with the stamp of a car. The painting, L’home del barret, “The man with a derby”, is now finished.”