Biography of Joan Miró
An artist of huge international reach, the works of Joan Miró are considered joyful re-creations of childlike fantasy and are heavily identified with Catalonia where he was born. His fierce experimentation combined with his natural elusiveness kept him from becoming too aligned with any artist movement despite having affinities with Surrealism and Abstractionism. He is renowned for having an astonishing ability to combine everyday identifiable forms—such as the moon—with intricately rendered objects straight from his imagination.
Born in 1883 in Barcelona, Joan Miró initially went into business until a nervous breakdown forced him to embrace his artistic flair. He pioneered the use of automatic drawing and saw it as a means of shaking off established techniques that he associated with bourgeois art—an art form he detested bitterly. First thought of as a Fauvist, it was his loose participation in the Surrealist group in the early 1920s and his move to Paris that his naturally poetic and dreamlike works began to flourish. It is thought that Miró illustrated over 250 Livre d’Artiste, which are now highly collectable and cherished around the world.
Through meticulous and careful planning, Joan Miró managed to harness the spontaneous feel and energy of his work into something recognizable and even representational—regardless of their level of abstraction. His radical style was a considerable contribution to the 20th century’s avant-garde allowing for the later embrace of complete abstraction. He was, for instance, a huge influence on Pollock and Rothko. In the 1930s and 40s Miró had an increasingly political outlook and he produced numerous work against the Franco regime in Spain. In 1940 he narrowly avoided the invading Nazis when fleeing from Paris to Palma de Mallorca after which his canvases took on an increasingly brutal and unnerving quality.
Joan Miro was prolific throughout his life and worked extensively in lithography, murals, tapestries, and public sculpture. In the 1950s he began working on a much larger scale and participated in the “Homage to Surrealism” exhibition alongside Salvador Dalí. He died in 1983 having just completed Woman and Bird a public sculpture in Barcelona. Enormously influential throughout his life, Miró’s biomorphic forms were always thrillingly inventive and he will be remembered as having had a profound influence on Modern Art.
In 1964 Joan Miró was honored with two retrospectives in London at the Tate Gallery and the ICA. Because of political upheaval the first full exhibition of his painting and limited editions did not take place in his homeland until the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía in Madrid in 1978. In 1993, a hundred years after his birth, major exhibitions were held in the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 2011 Tate Modern in London held a retrospective of his work which travelled on to Fundació Joan Miró and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C..