- 90 years old
- Born Apr 20, 1893
- Died Dec 25, 1983
- Barcelona, Spain
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..."
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 de Mallorca on October 12, 1929; their daughter Dolores was born July 17, 1931. Shuzo Takiguchi published the first monograph on Miró in 1940. 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 dabbled in architecture when he designed the Maeght Foundation museum in Saint-Paul-en-Forêt, France, which was completed in 1964.
By not becoming an official member of the Surrealists, Miró was free to experiment with any artistic style that he wished without compromising his position within the group and being accused of not being a “true” Surrealist. He pursued his own interests in the art world, both within and between groups which politicked and jockeyed for prominence. Miró’s artistic autonomy, in that he did not adhere to any one particular style, is reflected in his work and his willingness to work with several media.
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 his final decades 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.
He died bedridden, at his home in Palma, Mallorca 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 Fundació Joan Miró in Montjuïc, Barcelona and the U.S. National Gallery in Washington, D.C.; he is buried nearby, at the Montjuïc cemetery. Today, his paintings sell for between US$250,000 and US$16.7 million, which was for the Blue Star and was the highest amount paid for one of Miró's works.
Joan Miró won several awards in his lifetime. In 1958 he was given the Venice Biennale print making prize, in May 1959 the Guggenheim International Award, and in 1980 he received the Gold Medal of Fine Arts from King Juan Carlos of Spain.
In pop culture
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.
A statue of Miró's is found on the campus of Springfield University in The Simpsons's episode "That 90s Show."
Miró's work is referenced in the Music Video for Steely Dan's New Frontier."
He inspired the naming of the Miró quartet, one of America's highest-profile chamber groups, which was founded at the Oberlin Conservatory in 1995
Miró received a Doctor Honoris Causa in 1979 from the University of Barcelona. He died in Majorca in 1983.
Share this TributeLet them know how much you cared
Visited Apr 23, 2008