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The surrealist Joan Miro was born in Barcelona in 1893 and was best known as a painter,
although he was a gifted sculptor, ceramicist and lithographer. He produced some
major public works of art for many organisations including Unesco.
The son of a watchmaker father and goldsmith mother he was surrounded by art from
a young age. He attended the School Of Industrial And Fine Arts in Barcelona and
went on to study at La Lonja School of Fine Arts in Barcelona,
Left, Aquarelle, Joan Miro painting
Early in his career he was part of, “generation 27” a group made up of Spanish artists,
poets, writers and film makers including Luis Bunuel. Miro fled to France when three
of the group were murdered by Franco’s fascist regime in Spain.
After this experience he himself eschewed membership of any movements and clubs and
maintained his independence. Miro was known as a surrealist painte but never officially
joined the movement. Ironically, the founder of the surrealism, Andre Breton described
Miro as the most surrealist of us all.
Below,’The Gold of the Azure’ Joan Miro painting 1967
Joan Miro’s first exhibition was in Barcelona in 1918 at the Dalmau Galleries. His
work before 1920 had an eclectic mix of influences, the brilliant bold colours of
Fauvism, shapes from cubism, Italian church frescos and Catalan folk art.
A trip to Paris in 1920 exposed him to surrealism and this so captured his imagination
that he developed the style and made it his own. He was also influenced by Dadaism.
In 1921 he had his first exhibition of Joan Miro paintings in Paris at the La Licorne
In 1926 he collaborated with Max Ernst on some set designs for Sergei Diaghilev.
With Miro’s help, Ernst developed the technique of ‘grattage’ which involved trowelling
paint onto canvas.
Miro married Pilar Junosca in Majorca in 1929.
In 1929 he began to take more of an interest in objects and produced collages and
surrealist sculptures. He also created ceramics, water colours, pastels and painting
on copper. He produced over a thousand lithographs during a forty year period.
Unusually, he produced over 250 illustrated books containing his artworks. These
were known as, ’Livre d’Artist’.
Among his most celebrated works were two ceramic murals he made for the UNESCO building
in Paris called The Wall of the Moon and the Wall of the Sun, 1957-59. In 1974 he
designed and produced a tapestry for The World Trade Centre in New York. He learned
the craft of tapestry for the commission and he made several afterwards. Unfortunately
this major work was destroyed in the September 11th terrorist attacks in New York
Somewhat of a controversial figure from the 1930’s onwards Miro expressed contempt
for conventional paintings, declaring that they were an attempt to support ‘bourgeois
society’ he famously coined the phrase ‘the assassination of art’, by which he meant
he wanted to destroy what he considered to be bourgeois, establishment art. This
included the cubist movement which was hugely popular in France at the time. He however
considered it had been appropriated by politicians and the elite. He declared he
would, ‘smash their guitars’, a reference to Picasso’s paintings.
A hugely gifted and prolific artist in many mediums, he died in December 1983 at
his home and studio in Mallorca.
His extensive body of work was very influential and If you don’t think you know Miro’s
paintings you will almost certainly have seen some in prints and posters.
Best known for his abstract works, his paintings included portraits and landscapes,
such as ‘The Farm’, painted in 1921-22. His most famous paintings include, ‘The Garden’,
‘Bleu II’, and ,’The Melancholic Singer’.
Joan Miro paintings are amongst the best selling prints, posters and canvases gracing
living rooms, bedrooms and offices the world over. We hope you’ve enjoyed our facts
about Joan Miro and we’ve inspired you to own some Joan Miro art for yourself.
Spanish Born in Barcelona in 1893
Died in Mallorca 1993 aged 100
Surrealist Best known for his abstracts
Multi talented painter, sculptor and ceramicist
“Assassination of art” wanted to destroy bourgeois art, his quote
“Smash their guitars” referred to Picasso who was a rival and seen as an establishment
figure at the time
Perhaps ironically, after this comment, he produced much work for public buildings
and was widely used by the establishment
Joan Miro produced over 250 books of his art called “Livre d’Artsit”
His large tapestry was the most expensive work of art destroyed in World Trade Centre,
Twin Towers September 11th attacks in New York..
Two of his most famous works were ceramic murals “The Wall of the Moon” and “The
Wall of the Sun” for UNESCO building in Paris