His full name was Joan Miró i Ferra. He was born on April 20, 1893, in Barcelona Spain. He is famous worldwide because of his unique surrealist style on all his works.
Joan was not only a painter, but a multifaceted Artist, by producing very interesting sculptures as well as fantastic works in ceramics. He liked to take care of every detail. He was a disciplined and hard working person, who always maintained order in his projects.
Some of his artworks are spread in different spots in the city, and are included in my recommended Barcelona Sightseeing places.
His style is simple, childlike, colorful and easily recognizable on all his artworks. These unique characteristics make of Joan Miro a privileged artist whose works are more and more appreciated every year.
His father, Miquel Miro i Adzerias, was a watchmaker and goldsmith. His mother, Dolors Ferra i Oromí, was from Palma de Mallorca. At the age of seven, Joan had begun the elementary school and attended his first drawing classes. Some preserved drawings from this time, can be seen at the Miro Foundation in Barcelona.
His parents wanted him to study at the business school. In 1907, he enrolled at the School of Commerce in Barcelona. But at the same time, Joan also attended the classes at the School of Fine Arts, until 1910.
He was working as clerk in a drugstore for a couple of years, but as this was not the kind of activity he probably wanted to develop, he suffered a nervous breakdown and abandoned the job. He caught typhoid fever and had to spent some time in the family´s farm house, in the province of Tarragona.
Joan Miro finally abandoned business and resumed the art studies in 1912. He enrolled in the School of Art of Francesc Gali, where he was attending classes for three years, until 1915. His parents had to accept the choice of Joan to make a career as an artist. But, as you may imagine, they did not give him all the necessary support.
Professor Gali discovered the talents of Joan Miro and encouraged him in his new career. Gali also introduced Joan to the Modern Art and to the importance of those artist who were developing works among Barcelona and Paris.
During those years, Joan was working in Barcelona and the island of Majorca. He painted some portraits and landscapes, among other works. Those first paintings of Joan have a style, which was still experimental, derived from Fauvism and Cubism. Both styles were the reference for some important artists during those years.
Joan attended Gali´s School of Arts until 1915. One year later, he met a dealer named Josep Dalmau, who was interested in his works. In 1918, Joan Miro held his first one-man show at the Dalmau Galleries, in Barcelona. Paris was then considered the capital of arts, and Joan did not ignore this fact. He made his first trip to Paris in 1920.
In 1921, Joan held his first one-man show in Paris, organized by Dalmau. He spent some time traveling between Spain and France, until he settled in Paris in 1921. In Paris, he met Pablo Picasso and other important artists, like Ernest Hemingway, who purchased Joan´s famous work The Farm.
In 1924, Miro approached the Surrealist group guided by Andre Breton, even though he already had found his own, unique style. In 1925, his works were included at a major Surrealist exhibition held in the Pierre Gallery, Paris.
Miro was influenced by some famous poets and artists of those years. He was among the first artists who developed the so called automatic drawing, which is defined as the surrealist technique without conscious self-censorship.
You do not have to understand the definition to appreciate his style and his works. Simple, plastic, colorful, unique and beautiful!
Joan Miro was living in Paris until 1925. His friendship with some writers and other artists, probably influenced him to later adopt his own style. He was often experimenting through diverse styles, moving among surrealism, automatic drawing and expressionism.
During 1928, Miro visited the Netherlands, where he received the influence and inspiration of some local artists. He also visited the Prado Museum in Madrid for the first time.
Miro suffered a crisis of expression and wanted to stop painting. He started with his first collage works during that year. His first experiments with lithography are from 1929.
He married Pilar Juncosa in Palama de Mallorca, on October 12, 1929. Their only daughter, Maria Dolors, was born in Barcelona in July 17, 1930. Miro started to produce some surrealist sculptures made with painted stones and other objects.
In 1930, Miro was already a recognized artist and his fame became international. This year, Joan held his first one-man exhibition at the Valentine Gallery, in New York. In 1932, he held his first one-man show at the Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York.
Miro also designed ballet costumes and begun with his first etchings works in 1933. In 1936, he left Spain and moved to Paris with his family, because of the Spanish Civil War. During this year, works of Miro were included at the exhibitions of the Museum of Modern Art, in New York.
In 1937, he was commissioned to make a large mural painting. He made The Reaper (Catalan peasant in revolt) for the Spanish Republican Government's pavilion at the World's Fair in Paris. In 1940, he began with his known Constellations series. But because of the World War II, he moved with his family back to Spain. They settled in Palma de Mallorca, capital of Majorca island, where he completed the 23 Constellations in 1941.
That year, his first most important retrospective was held at the Museum of Modern Art, in New York. He returned to Barcelona in 1942, where he was working mainly on paper. During 1944, Miro started with his first ceramic works in cooperation with his friend Josep Llorens Artigas.
He also produced his first sculptures in bronze, and completed the fifty lithographs of the Barcelona series. Joan returned to paint on canvas, which he had abandoned several years ago.
In 1947, Miro went to the United States of America for the first time. He was commissioned to paint a mural for the Gourmet Room at the Terrace Plaza Hilton Hotel, in Cincinnati (Ohio).
After the World War II, Miro became internationally known and famous, because of his paintings, drawings, sculptures and other works. From 1948, Miro was living in Barcelona and he was often traveling among this city and Paris.
During 1949-1950, he was mainly working in lithography, illustrating a number of books of his poet friends. He was also working with engravings technique. In 1954, Miro begun a new period in his artistic life, which extended over the next two years. He produced a large number of ceramic pieces in cooperation with his friend Josep Llorens Artigas.
In 1954, he received a Prize for graphic works, at the Venice Bienalle. Meanwhile, in 1955, he also made some works on cardboard, and again decided to stop painting. During 1956, he sold his flat in Barcelona and decided to move to a place called Son Abrines, close to Palma de Mallorca, the capital of Majorca island.
In 1958, Joan Miro received a Guggenheim International Award for the murals he made for the UNESCO building in Paris. In 1960, he was commissioned to work on the ceramic mural for Harkness Commons, Harvard University, to replace the mural painting. His friend, Josep Llorens Artigas, also collaborated in this work. During this year, he started to work very hard in sculptures. He also started to paint again, but this time, producing paintings of large proportions.
In 1962, a major exhibition of Joan Miro collection, was held in the National Museum of Modern Art, in Paris. During 1964, took place the inauguration of the Fondation Maeght, at Saint-Paul-de-Vence, France. He created the Labyrinth Miro and produced a series of sculptures and ceramics for the garden, in cooperation with his friend Artigas.
In 1966, he produced his first sculptures in bronze, known as Sun bird and Moon bird. This year, he went to Japan for his first retrospective exhibition at the National Museum of Art, in Tokyo. He was fascinated by the Japanese calligraphy and the traditional painting styles. This event influenced the later works of Miro.
Examples of monumental sculptures made by Joan Miro, are those he made for the city of Chicago, and Personage and Birds for the city of Houston, in front of the JPMorgan Chase Tower.
In 1968, the first retrospective exhibition was held in Barcelona Spain, and in 1970 was his first one-man exhibition in Palma de Mallorca. During 1970, he made a mural painting and a mural ceramic for Laughter Pavilion sponsored by Japanese gas companies at the Osaka World's Fair. In the same year, he and his friend Artigas, made the big ceramic mural at the Barcelona Airport, terminal T2B.
During his last years he developed some works in tapestry and also in stained-glass. In 1975 was opened the Miro Foundation in Montjuic, Barcelona, and in 1981 two sculptures were made in Palma de Mallorca.
Joan Miro died on December 25, 1983 in Palma de Mallorca. He was buried on December 29 at the Montjuic cemetery, Barcelona. His wife Pilar, died in Palma de Mallorca on November 25, 1995.
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