Joan Miro

Joan Miro

1893 – 1983

Joan Miró, painter, sculptor, printmaker and decorative artist, was born in Barcelona on April 20, 1893. At the age of fourteen he went to business school in Barcelona and also attended La Lonja, the academy of arts in the same city. After completing three years of art studies he took a position as a clerk. When Miró suffered a nervous breakdown he abandoned business and resumed his art studies, attending Francesc Galí’s Escola d’Art in Barcelona from 1912 to 1915. Miró received early encouragement from the dealer José Dalmau, who gave him his first solo exhibition at his gallery in Barcelona in 1918.

Miro made his first trip to Paris in 1919, where he visited Pablo Picasso in his studio.. From 1920 Miró divided his time between Paris and Montroig. Dalmau organized Miro’s first solo exhibition in Paris, at the Galerie la Licorne in 1921. His work was included in the Salon d’Automne of 1923.

Surrealism began at this time, with the writer Andre Breton issuing the Surrealist Manifesto. Surrealism was supposed to be a fusion of reality and the dream, a sort-of “super” reality. Breton felt that Miró’s work had an innocence and freedom about it. Miro showed his work in Surrealist exhibitions, and was influenced especially by the poets Max Jacob, Pierre Reverdy and Tristan Tzara.

Joan Miro joined the Surrealist group. His solo exhibition at the Galerie Pierre in Paris in 1925 was a major Surrealist event.

In 1929 Miro started his experiments in lithography, and his first etchings date from 1933. During the early 1930s he made Surrealist sculpture-objects incorporating painted stones and found objects. In 1936 Miró left Spain because of the Civil War; he returned in 1941.

An important Joan Miro retrospective was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1941. That same year Miro began working in ceramics and started to concentrate on prints.  From 1954 to 1958 he worked almost exclusively in these two media.

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.  In 1958 Miró received a Guggenheim International Award for Murals for the UNESCO Building in Paris.  During the 1960s he began to work intensively in sculpture.

A major Miró retrospective took place at the Grand Palais in Paris in 1974. In 1978 the Musée National d’Art Moderne in Paris, honored him exhibiting over five hundred works in a major retrospective of his drawings.  In 1980 he received the Gold Medal of Fine Arts from King Juan Carlos of Spain.

Miro was a pre-eminent figure in the history of abstraction and an important example to several generations of artists around the world. He died, bedridden, at his home in Palma de Mallorca on December 25, 1983.  He is buried nearby, at the Montjuïc cemetery.  Many of his pieces are exhibited today in the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona.

The Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca Foundation was formed in 1981, the year in which Joan Miro and his wife Pilar Juncosa donated the four workshops in which the artist had carried out his creative work, as well as the large number of works they contained. Rafael Moneo, the well-known architect, Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, at that time, was commissioned to design and plan the new headquarters for the Foundation, in the setting of the grounds of Son Boter and Son Abrines where the painter had lived.

The inauguration of the new Foundation building in December 1992 marked the public opening of the Foundation to Palma de Mallorca. The Foundation endeavours to be a cultural and artistic center, to introduce it to a wider, international public, and in keeping with the spirit of its founder, to be open to the most advanced concepts and ideas in contemporary art.  A meeting point for writers, artists, and musicians to exchange ideas and work together. An effective platform for cultural diffusion and understanding the adventure of modernity. A place to discover the intimate world of Miró, and the revelation of his essential spirit and thought.

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