Joan Miro

Joan Miró i Ferrá (April 20, 1893 – December 25, 1983) was a Catalan painter, sculptor and ceramist born in Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain). His work has been interpreted as Surrealism, a sandbox with the subconscious mind, an interest in recreating the child-like, and Catalan and Spanish pride. In numerous writing and interviews dating from the 1930s forward, Miró expressed contempt for conventional painting methods and his desire to abandon them (in his words "murder" and "assassinate" and or "rape" them) in favour of more contemporary means of expression.

Early life

As a young man, Miró was drawn towards the arts community that was gathering in Montparnasse and in 1920 moved to Paris. There, under the influence of Surrealist poets and writers, he developed his unique style: organic forms and flattened picture planes drawn with a sharp line. Generally thought of as a Surrealist because of his interest in automatism and the use of sexual symbols (for example, ovoids with wavy lines emanating from them), Miró’s style was influenced in varying degrees by Surrealism and Dada, yet he rejected membership to any artistic movement in the interwar European years. André Breton, the founder of Surrealism, described him as "the most Surrealist of us all." Breton was known for his affinity to automatism and promoted using starvation, sleep deprivation, and drugs for inducing hallucinogenic states conducive to create art that reveals the subconscious.


In 1926, he collaborated with Max Ernst on designs for Sergei Diaghilev. With Miró's help, Ernst pioneered the technique of grattage, in which he troweled pigment onto his canvases. Miró married Pilar Juncosa in Palma de Mallorca on October 12, 1929; their daughter Dolores was born July 17, 1931. Shuzo Takiguchi published the first monograph on Miró in 1940. In 1959, André Breton asked Miró to represent Spain in The Homage to Surrealism exhibition together with works by Enrique Tábara, Salvador Dalí, and Eugenio Granell.


By not becoming an official member of the Surrealists, Miró was free to experiment with any artistic style that he wished without compromising his position within the group and being accused of not being a “true” Surrealist. He pursued his own interests in the art world, both within and between groups which politicked and jockeyed for prominence. Miró’s artistic autonomy, in that he did not adhere to any one particular style, is reflected in his work and his willingness to work with several media.

In an interview with biographer Walter Erben, Miró expressed his dislike for art critics, saying, they "are more concerned with being philosophers than anything else. They form a preconceived opinion, then they look at the work of art. Painting merely serves as a cloak in which to wrap their emaciated philosophical systems."

Later years

In his final decades Miró accelerated his work in different media producing hundreds of ceramics, including the Wall of the Moon and Wall of the Sun at the UNESCO building in Paris. He also made temporary window paintings (on glass) for an exhibit.In the last years of his life Miró wrote his most radical and least known ideas, exploring the possibilities of gas sculpture and four-dimensional painting.

Miró died, bedridden, at his home in Palma, Mallorca. He suffered from heart disease, and had visited a clinic for respiratory problems two weeks before his death.[2] Many of his pieces are exhibited today in the Fundació Joan Miró in Montjuďc, Barcelona; he is buried nearby, at the Montjuďc cemetery. Today, his paintings sell for between US$250,000 and US$8 million.


Joan Miró won several awards in his lifetime. In 1954 he was given the Venice Biennale printmaking prize, in May 1959 the Guggenheim International Award, and in 1980 he received the Gold Medal of Fine Arts from King Juan Carlos of Spain.

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