Miró - Wikipedia Biography
Joan Miró i Ferrà (April 20, 1893 – December 25, 1983; Catalan
pronunciation: [ʑuˈan miˈɾo]) was a Spanish Catalan
and ceramist born in Barcelona.
Earning international acclaim, his work has been interpreted as Surrealism,
a sandbox for the subconscious mind, a re-creation of the childlike,
and a manifestation of Catalan pride. In numerous interviews dating from
the 1930s onwards, Miró expressed contempt for conventional painting
methods as a way of supporting bourgeois society, and famously declared an
"assassination of painting" in favour of upsetting the visual elements
of established painting.
Born to the families of a goldsmith
and watchmaker, the young Miró was drawn towards the
arts community that was gathering in Montparnasse
and in 1920 moved to Paris. There, under the influence of the poets and
writers, he developed his unique style: organic forms and flattened picture planes drawn with a
sharp line. Generally thought of as a Surrealist because of his interest
in automatism and the use of sexual
symbols (for example, ovoids with wavy lines emanating from them),
Miró’s style was influenced in varying degrees by Surrealism and Dada,
yet he rejected membership to any artistic movement in the interwar
European years. André Breton, the founder of Surrealism,
described him as "the most Surrealist of us all." Miró confessed to
creating one of his most famous works, Harlequin's
Carnival, under similar circumstances:
- "How did I think up my drawings and my ideas for painting? Well I'd
come home to my Paris studio in Rue Blomet at night, I'd go to bed, and
sometimes I hadn't any supper. I saw things, and I jotted them down in a
notebook. I saw shapes on the ceiling..."
Joan Miró was originally part of the Generation of '27, a collective made up of
Spanish poets, writers, painters and film makers that included Luis
Buñuel, Miguel Hernández, José
María Hinojosa and García Lorca. The latter three were
murdered by Franco during Spain's fascist reign. Buñuel and a few other
artists were able to flee for France and the US. Miró was among these
exiles. It is also important to note that Miró's surrealist origins
evolved out of "repression" much like all Spanish surrealist and majic
realist work, especially since the Catalan
ethnicity to which he pertained was subject to special persecution by
the Franco regime. Also, Joan Miró was well aware of Haitian Voodoo art and Cuban Santería
religion through his travels before going into exile. This led to his
signature style of art making.
In 1926, he collaborated with Max
Ernst on designs for Sergei Diaghilev. With Miró's help, Ernst pioneered the
technique of grattage, in which he troweled
pigment onto his canvases. Miró married Pilar Juncosa in Palma (Majorca) on October 12, 1929; their daughter Dolores
was born July 17, 1931. Shuzo
Takiguchi published the first monograph on Miró in 1940. In 1948–49,
although living in Barcelona, Miró made frequent visits to Paris to
work on printing his techniques at the Mourlot Studios (lithographs) and at the Atelier
Lacourière (engravings). A close relationship lasting forty years
developed with the printer Fernand Mourlot and resulted in the production of over one
thousand different lithographic editions.
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. Miró created a series of sculptures and
ceramics for the garden of the Maeght Foundation in Saint-Paul-de-Vence,
France, which was completed in 1964.
Throughout the 1960s, Miró was a featured artist in many salon shows
assembled by Maeght that also included works by Marc
Chagall, Giacometti, Brach, Cesar, Ubac,
 Experimental style
Miró was among the first artists to develop automatic drawing as a way to undo
previous established techniques in painting, and thus, with André Masson, represented the beginning of Surrealism
as an art movement. However, Miró chose not to become an official
member of the Surrealists in order to be free to experiment with other
artistic styles without compromising his position within the group. He
pursued his own interests in the art world, ranging from automatic
drawing and surrealism, to expressionism
and Color Field painting.
Miró's oft-quoted interest in the assassination of painting is
derived from a dislike of bourgeois art of any kind, used as a way to
promote propaganda and cultural identity among the wealthy.
Specifically, Miró responded to Cubism in
this way, which by the time of his quote had become an established art
form in France. He is quoted as saying "I will break their guitar,"
referring to Picasso's paintings, with the intent to attack
the popularity and appropriation of Picasso's art by politics. 
"The spectacle of the sky overwhelms me. I'm overwhelmed when I see,
in an immense sky, the crescent of the moon, or the sun. There, in my
pictures, tiny forms in huge empty spaces. Empty spaces, empty horizons,
empty plains - everything which is bare has always greatly impressed
me." - Joan Miró, 1958, quoted in Twentieth-Century Artists on Art.
In an interview with biographer Walter Erben,
Miró expressed his dislike for art
critics, saying, they "are more concerned with being philosophers
than anything else. They form a preconceived opinion, then they look at
the work of art. Painting merely serves as a cloak in which to wrap
their emaciated philosophical systems."
Four-dimensional painting is a theoretical type of painting Miró
proposed in which painting would transcend its two-dimensionality and
even the three-dimensionality of sculpture.
In the final decades of his life Miró accelerated his work in
different media, producing hundreds of ceramics, including the Wall
of the Moon and Wall of the Sun at the UNESCO
building in Paris. He also made temporary window paintings (on glass)
for an exhibit. In the last years of his life Miró wrote his most
radical and least known ideas, exploring the possibilities of gas
sculpture and four-dimensional painting.
In 1974, Miró created a tapestry for the World Trade Center in New York City. He had initially
refused to do a tapestry, then he learned the craft and produced several
ones. His World Trade Center Tapestry was displayed for many
years at World Trade Center building.
It was one of the most expensive works of art lost during the September 11 attacks, in which the
towers were destroyed in a terrorist action.
In 1981, Miró's The Sun, the Moon and One Star — later renamed
Miró's Chicago — was unveiled. This
large, mixed media sculpture is situated outdoors in the downtown Loop
area of Chicago,
across the street from another large public sculpture, the Chicago Picasso. Miró had created a bronze model of The
Sun, the Moon and One Star in 1967. The model now resides in the Milwaukee Art Museum.
 Late mural
Joan Miró, La Leçon de Ski, 1966, Sofia Imber Contemporary Art
Museum of Caracas,
One of Miró’s most important works in the United States is his only
(Bird Characters), 1972–1978. Miró created it specifically for Wichita State University’s Edwin A.
Ulrich Museum of Art,
The mural is one of Miró’s largest two-dimensional projects, undertaken
when he was 79 and completed when he was 85 years of age.
Fabrication of the mural was actually completed in 1977, but Miró did
not consider it finished until the installation was complete.
The glass mosaic was the first for Miró. Although he wanted to do
others, time was against him and he was not able. He was to come to the
dedication of the mural in 1978, but he fell at his studio in Palma (Majorca, Spain), and
was unable to travel. His island home and studio in Mallorca served him
from 1956 until his death in 1983.
The entire south wall of the Ulrich Museum is the foundation for the
28 ft by 52 ft (8.53 m x 15.85 m) mural, composed of one million pieces
of marble and Venetian glass mounted on specially treated wood, attached
to the concrete wall on an aluminum grid. A gift of the artist, donor
groups paid for the fabrication by Ateliers Loire
and for its installation. The Ulrich Museum also acquired the 5 ½ ft by
12 ft oil on canvas maquette for the mural, but it has since been sold
to establish a fund to support the museum’s acquisitions and any repairs
needed to the mural. The entire mural was originally assembled by one
artisan at Ateliers Loire using Miró’s maquette as a guide.
Fabricated under Miró’s personal direction and completed in 1977, the
40 panels comprising the mural were shipped to WSU, and the mural was
installed on the Ulrich Museum’s façade in 1978. Although it has received little
recognition, the mural is a seminal work in the artist’s career, being
one of Miró’s largest two-dimensional works in
North America and the only type of its kind by the artist.
 Livre d'Artist
Miró worked on several illustrated books. These were known as "Livre
One such work was published in 1974, at the urging of the widow of
the French poet Robert Desnos titled "Les pénalités de l'enfer
ou les nouvelles Hébrides" (The Penalties of Hell or The New Hebrides).
It was a set of 25 lithographs, five in black, and the others in
In 2006 the book was displayed in “Joan Miro, Illustrated Books” at
the Vero Beach Museum of Art. One critic said it is “an especially
powerful set, not only for the rich imagery but also for the story
behind the book's creation. The lithographs are long, narrow verticals,
and while they feature Miró's familiar shapes, there's an unusual
emphasis on texture." The critic continued, “I was instantly attracted
to these four prints, to an emotional lushness, that's in contrast with
the cool surfaces of so much of Miró's work. Their poignancy is even
greater, I think, when you read how they came to be. The artist met and
became friends with Desnos, perhaps the most beloved and influential
surrealist writer, in 1925, and before long, they made plans to
collaborate on a livre d'artist. Those plans were put on hold because of
the Spanish civil war and World War II. Desnos' bold criticism of the
latter led to his imprisonment in Auschwitz, and he died at age 45 shortly after
his release in 1945. Nearly three decades later, at the suggestion of
Desnos' widow, Miró set out to illustrate the poet's manuscript. It was
his first work in prose, which was written in Morocco in 1922 but
remained unpublished until this posthumous collaboration. “
 Late life and death
Miró received a doctorate honoris causa in 1979 from the University of
He died bedridden at his home in Palma (Majorca) on December 25, 1983.
He suffered from heart disease and had visited a clinic for respiratory
problems two weeks before his death.
Many of his pieces are exhibited today in the National Gallery of Art in
Washington, DC and Fundació Joan Miró in Montjuïc,
his body is buried nearby, at the Montjuïc cemetery. Today, Miró's
paintings sell for between US$250,000 and US$17 million; the latter was
the auction price for the La Caresse des étoiles on May 6, 2008
and is the highest amount paid for one of his works.
 Legacy and influence
Critic Joel Silverstein in Reviewny.com suggested Miró's style
influenced painters such as Julian
Hatton, and noted similarities with Joan Miro and Ludwig von Hofmann as well as Paul
Joan Miró i Ferrà won several awards in his lifetime. In 1954 he was
given the Venice Biennale print making prize, in 1958
the Guggenheim International Award,
and in 1980 he received the Gold Medal of Fine Arts from King Juan Carlos of Spain.
In 1981, the Palma City Council (Majorca)
established the Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca, housed in
the four studios that Miró had donated for the purpose.
 In pop culture
- In 2006, the Artists Rights Society (who manage
Miró's copyright in the United States) asked Google to remove a
customized version of its logo put up to commemorate the artist on what
would have been his 113th birthday; the ARS alleged that portions of
specific artworks under their protection had been used in the logos, and
that they had been used without permission. According to Artist Rights
Society President Theodore Feder, "There are underlying copyrights to
the works of Miró, and they are putting it up without having the
Google complied with the request, but denied that there was any
violation of copyright.
- Joan Miró is mentioned in Paulo
Coelho's Eleven Minutes, several times in the
fourth section of the novel and twice towards the end. The protagonist
of Eleven Minutes relates his style of art to that of Miró's.
- Dave Brubeck Quartet used a painting as an album cover in their
1960s album Time Further Out.
M. Rowell, Joan Mirό: Selected Writings and Interviews (London:
Thames & Hudson, 1987) pp. 114–116.
- ^ Miró's art biography at
Janis Mink, Miró (Los Angeles: Taschen, 2003), p. 43.
Spector, Nancy. "The Tilled Field, 1923–1924". Guggenheim display caption.
Retrieved on May 30, 2008.
Saul Wenegrat: September 11th: ART LOSS, DAMAGE,
AND REPERCUSSIONS, Proceedings of an IFAR Symposium on February
28, 2002. Retrieved on November 16, 2008.
- ^ Art Works Lost in WTC Attacks
Valued at, Insurance Journal, October 8, 2001. Retrieved on
November 16, 2008.
- ^ Personnage Oiseaux (Bird
- ^ Ulrich Museum of Art
- ^ a
Bush, Martin H. The Edwin A Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State
University. Wichita, Kansas: The Edwin A Ulrich Museum
of Art, Wichita State University, 1980
- ^ Miró’s mural as it appears
installed on the façade of the Ulrich Museum, Wichita State University,
Ateliers Loire, Chartres, France
Joan Miró (Spanish), 1893–1983:
Featured artist works, exhibitions and biography from Walton Fine Arts
"Joan Miró dies in Spain at 90". New
York Times: 41. December 26 1983.
As reported on APF Google, Miró
painting fetches record price of US$17million at Christie's New York
auction on May 6, 2008
Joel Silverstein (2001-04-01). "Curious Terrain". Reviewny.com. http://www.julianhatton.net/Reviewny_01.html. Retrieved 2010-01-01. "The
paintings sing to each other ..."
Biography from the Guggenheim
Museum lists some of his awards
Biography from ArtNet lists Miro's
Gold Medal award from King Juan Carlos
The Pilar and Joan Miró Foundation
in Mallorca, Spain
"Google takes down Miró image". Silicon
Beat, April 20, 2006
- Dupin, Jacques (1962). Joan Miró:
Life and Work. Abrams.
- Jacques Dupin, Joan Miró Life and Work, Harry N. Abrams, Inc.,
Publisher, New York City, 1962, Library of Congress Catalog Card Number:
- Margit Rowell,Joan Miró -Selected Writing & Interviews,
Da Capo Press Inc; New edition edition (1 Aug 1992) ISBN 978-0306804854
 External links