Joan Miro
Joan Miró, (1893-1983)

Joan Miró was an inventive and prolific artist who visually translated concepts of the subconscious and the automatic into his art and was highly influential in the Surrealist movement. Born on April 20, 1893 in Barcelona, he studied art at the Barcelona School of Fine Arts and the Academia Galí. In his early work Miró synthesized aesthetic ideas from diverse sources, incorporating the bright color palette of the Fauves, the broken forms of cubism, and the powerful, flat two-dimensionality of Catalan folk art and Romanesque church frescoes of his native Spain.

His artwork evolved into maturation when he arrived in Paris in 1920 where he was influenced by surrealist poets and writers. Miró drew on memory, fantasy, and the irrational to create works of art that are visual analogues of surrealist poetry. These dreamlike visions, such as Harlequin's Carnival or Dutch Interior, often have a whimsical or humorous quality, containing images of playfully distorted animal forms, twisted organic shapes, and odd geometric constructions. The forms in his paintings are painted in a limited range of bright colors, predominantly blue, red, yellow, green, and black and are juxtaposed against flat neutral backgrounds. Amorphous amoebic shapes alternate with sharply drawn lines, spots, and curlicues, all positioned on the canvas or paper with seeming nonchalance. Later in his life, Miró produced highly generalized, ethereal works in which organic forms and figures were reduced to abstract spots, lines, and bursts of colors.

Miró is widely recognized for experimentation in a vast array of media. Devoted to etchings and lithographs at many points throughout his career, he is renowned for his invention of carborundum. Miro also worked in watercolor, pastel, collage, and paint on copper and masonite. His ceramic sculptures are especially notable, in particular his two large ceramic murals for the UNESCO building in Paris (Wall of the Moon and Wall of the Sun, 1957-59). Miró’s first major museum retrospective occurred in 1941 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and today his work is housed in most major museums worldwide, including the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Centre Pompidou and the Céret Museum of Modern Art in Paris, The Tate Gallery in London, the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Fundació Suñol in Barcelona, and the Pilar & Joan Miro Foundation and Museum in Mallorca. Miró’s art has continued to inspire new generations of artists and is highly coveted in the art world. The artist died in Majorca, Spain, on December 25, 1983.
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