Spanish painter, sculptor, and ceramicist Joan Miró I Ferrà was born in Barcelona on April 20, 1893, and passed away on December 25, 1983.
His work has been seen as an expression of Catalan pride, surrealism, the unconscious, and the recreation of childhood. Miró asserted in interviews conducted in the 1930s that using conventional painting techniques helped the bourgeoisie. Miró was born and raised in Barcelona, the son of a jeweler and a watchmaker. His mother was Dolors Ferrà, and his father was Miquel Miró Adzerias. At the private school housed in the medieval mansion Carrer del Regomir, he started drawing lessons when he was seven years old.
He enrolled at the La Llotja Academy of Fine Arts in 1907. His first solo exhibition at the Dalmau Gallery in 1918 drew jeers for its paintings. Miró arrived in Paris in 1920 after traveling to the Montparnasse art scene and being influenced by cubist and surrealist exhibitions.
Because Miró was influenced by Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cézanne and his artwork resembled that of avant-garde artists, this time period became known as “Catalan Fauvist” by academics.
Miró’s paintings in Paris (such as “The Farm”) show his transition to a more individualistic style of painting and more nationalistic qualities a few years after the failure of the 1918 Barcelona solo exhibition. Later, the painting was purchased by Ernest Hemingway “”This is a painting that makes you feel together with what you felt when you were in Spain, when you were away from Spain and couldn’t go,” James Joyce said of The Farm, comparing it to his novel Ulysses. Nobody else feels this conflicting way. He was unable to create the same image.” Through his early career, Miró developed a symbolism and nationalism that would stick with him.
Miró joined the Surrealist movement in 1924. The group’s preferred creative automatism was consistent with the current symbolic and poetic quality of Miró’s works, with their peculiar contradictions and dilemmas.
Thematic paintings were not completely abandoned by Miró. Despite the surrealist methods he employed in the 1920s, his sketches demonstrate that his artwork was produced through a logical process. The “Catalan Peasant” television series, which aired from 1924 to 1925, best illustrates this. He collaborated with Max Ernst on designs for renowned ballet director Sergei Diaghilev in 1926. With “Dutch Interiors,” he transitioned to a more representational painting style in 1928. His paintings, which were copies of paintings by Hendrik Martenszoon Sorgh and Jan Steen that appeared on postcards, showed the influence of the artist’s trip to the Netherlands.
In Palma, Spain, on October 12, 1929, Joan Miró wed Pilar Juncosa (Mayorca). On July 17, 1930, their daughter Mara Dolores was born. Pierre Matisse established an art gallery in New York in 1931. The “Modern Art” movement in America saw the rise of Pierre Matisse Gallery. By frequently exhibiting Miró’s works in New York, Matisse has helped Joan Miró gain recognition in the US market.
Many of his Surrealist contemporaries chose to include political commentary in their works, but Miró preferred to forego it. The mural “El segador” or “El campesino catalán en rebelda” (the rebellious Catalan peasant), created by the Spanish Republican Government for the Spanish Republican Pavilion at the 1937 Paris Exhibition, is where Catalan nationalism first appeared in paintings of surreal landscapes and Catalan peasants. Additionally, Miró’s artwork developed a clear political significance.
As the German invasion of France neared in 1939, Miró relocated to Varengeville in Normandy. When the Germans occupied Paris in May of the following year, Miró fled to Spain. He produced “Constellations,” a series of 23 gouache paintings, between 1940 and 1941. André Breton praised this collection of celestial symbolism. For the remainder of his career, the iconography of this work was dominated by themes of women, birds, and the moon.
The first monograph by Miró was published by Shuzo Takiguchi in 1940. In 1948 and 1949, Miró frequently traveled from Barcelona to Paris where he worked on printing techniques at the Atelier Lacourière and Mourlot Studios. More than a thousand lithographic prints were created by him.
With Enrique Tábara, Salvador Dal, and Eugenio Granell, André Breton asked Miró to represent Spain in the “Respect for Surrealism Exhibition” in 1959. For the 1964-completed garden of the Maeght Foundation in France, Miró created a number of ceramic and stone sculptures. In the past, in 1958, he created ceramic artwork for the walls of the UNESCO building in Paris.
For the World Trade Center in New York, Miró and Catalan artist Josep Royo produced a picture-woven wallcovering in 1974. One of the most expensive items lost during the September 11, 2001 attacks was this tapestry, which is on display at the World Trade Center. Another mural by Miró and Royo was created in 1977 and displayed at the “National Gallery of Art” in Washington, DC.
Sun, Moon, and a Star, later known as “Miro’s Chicago,” was on display in 1981. This enormous sculpture made of a variety of materials was erected in the square across from “Chicago Picasso,” another enormous sculpture. The bronze replica of “Sun, Moon, and a Star” was actually created by Miró in 1967, many years ago. The Milwaukee Art Museum currently houses the model. [miro 4 .JPG]
The University of Barcelona conferred an honorary doctorate on Miró in 1979. The artist passed away on December 25, 1983, at his Palma home due to heart failure (Mayorca).