"For me, a form is never something abstract; it is always... a man... a bird... or something else. For me form is never for form's sake."


Joan Miró Ferra (1893-1983) was a Spanish Catalan painter, sculptor, and ceramicist born in Barcelona. Earning international acclaim, his work has been interpreted as Surrealism, a sandbox for the subconscious mind, a re-creation of the childlike, and a manifestation of Catalan pride. In numerous interviews dating from the 1930s onwards, Miró expressed contempt for conventional painting methods as a way of supporting bourgeois society, and famously declared an "assassination of painting" in favour of upsetting the visual elements of established painting.

Joan Miró was born in Barcelona. At the age of 14, he went to business school in Barcelona and also attended the Escola de Belles Arts (Llotja) in the same city. Upon completing three years of art studies, he took a position as a clerk. After suffering a nervous breakdown, he abandoned business and resumed his art studies, attending Francesc Galí's Escola d'Art from 1912 to 1915. Miró received early encouragement from the dealer José Dalmau, who gave him his first solo show at his gallery in Barcelona in 1918. In 1917, he met Francis Picabia.

In 1920, Miró made his first trip to Paris, where he met Pablo Picasso. From this time, Miró divided his time between Paris and Montroig, Spain. In Paris, he associated with the poets Max Jacob, Pierre Reverdy, and Tristan Tzara, and participated in Dada activities. Dalmau organized Miró's first solo show in Paris, at the Galerie la Licorne in 1921. His work was included in the Salon d’Automne of 1923.

In 1924, Miró joined the Surrealist group. In 1925, his solo show at the Galerie Pierre, Paris, was a major Surrealist event and soon after Miró was included in the first Surrealist exhibition at the same gallery.

He visited the Netherlands in 1928 and began a series of paintings inspired by Dutch masters. He also executed his first papiers collés and collages. That same year, he introduced Salvador Dalí to the Surrealists and created an international phenomenon. One year later, Miró started his experiments in lithography, and his first etchings date from 1933. During the early 1930s, he made Surrealist sculptures incorporating painted stones and found objects.

 In 1936, Miró left Spain because of the civil war; he returned in 1941. Also in 1936, Miró was included in the exhibitions Cubism and Abstract Art and Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. The following year, he was commissioned to create a monumental work for the Paris World’s Fair.

Miró’s first major museum retrospective was held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1941. That year, Miró began working in ceramics with Josep Lloréns i Artigas and started to concentrate on prints; from 1954 to 1958, he worked almost exclusively in these two mediums. He received the Grand Prize for Graphic Work at the Venice Biennale in 1954, and his work was included in the first Documenta exhibition in Kassel the following year. In 1958, Miró was given a Guggenheim International Award for murals for the UNESCO building in Paris. The following year, he resumed painting, initiating a series of mural-sized canvases. During the 1960s, he began to work intensively in sculpture. Miró retrospectives took place at the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris, in 1962, and the Grand Palais, Paris, in 1974. In 1978, the Musée National d’Art Moderne exhibited over 500 works in a major retrospective of his drawings.

Miró died December 25, 1983, in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.


"The Tilled Field" (1923-24) Oil on canvas, 66 x 92.7 cm - 26 x 36.5 in. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, USA.



"Daybreak Tagesanbruch" (1968)



"The Lizard with Golden Feathers" (1971) Lithograph.



"Dutch Interior" (1928)

Text source: unkown.

Related Artists:

Related Terms: Surrealism, Dada, Abstract, Lithography, Collage.


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