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Born in Barcelona, Spain,1893-1983




Joan Miró was a 20th century Catalan Spanish artist known for his Surrealist works. He studied at the Barcelona School of Fine Arts. His work before 1920 shows wide-ranging influences, including the bright colors 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.


He went to Paris in 1920, where he met Picasso and fell under the influence of the surrealist poets and writers. In his mature style, Miró drew on memory, fantasy, and the irrational to create works of art that are visual metaphors of surrealist poetry, paintings that became known as 'peinture-poésie.' These
dreamlike visions, with gestural abstract signs and symbols as well as written words, have a whimsical or humorous quality but also appeal to an art of the spirit. The forms in the paintings from this period, amorphous amoebic shapes termed biomorphic, are usually painted in a limited range of bright colors, primarily blue, red, yellow, green, and black.

Unlike Picasso, Miró made frequent trips back to Spain. He stayed in Paris throughout the SpanishCivil War and returned to Spain during the years 1940-1948. The images in his work turned fierce,reflecting the turmoil of the civil war and the disintegration of Europe. Miró continued to work in thefree and spontaneous manner established in the 1920's, and made many trips to France, New York,Japan and the rest of Europe. His late work includes many sculptures, mixed media paintings,drawings, prints and ceramics.

Miró’s first major museum retrospective was held at the Museum of Modern Art (New York) in 1941. In 1944 Miró began working in ceramics with Josep Lloréns y Artigas and started to concentrate on prints; from 1954 to 1958 he worked almost exclusively in these two mediums. He received the Grand Prize for Graphic Work at the Venice Biennale in 1954, and his work was included in the first Documenta exhibition in Kassel the following year. In 1958 Miró was given a Guggenheim International Award for murals for the UNESCO building in Paris. The following year he resumed painting, initiating a series of mural-sized canvases. During the 1960s he began to work intensively in sculpture.

Miró retrospectives took place at the Musée National d’Art Moderne (Paris) (1962), and the Grand Palais (Paris) (1974). In 1978 the Musée National d’Art Moderne exhibited over five hundred works in a major retrospective of his drawings.

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