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Joan Miro

Art Essay / Artists  / Joan Miro

Joan Miro Biography

Joan Miró (1893–1983)

Spanish (Catalan) artist, born in Barcelona. Son of a goldsmith, after some years as a clerk, he suffered a breakdown, then devoted himself to art, working as painter, sculptor, lithographer, engraver, ceramicist, costume designer and in stained glass. He worked with the French Dadaists for a time, later joined André Breton’s Surrealist group and designed settings and costumes for *Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes.

His familiar style, internationally recognised from the 1940s, had a variety of influences ranging from Paleolithic cave art  , *Bosch, van *Gogh, *Klee, the Fauves and Cubists, and the experiences of dreams and hallucinations (some induced by hunger). It was an art of hieroglyphs and symbols painted with strokes and spots in primary colours, red, blue, yellow, usually against a green or black background.

He preferred to work on a large scale as in his TheWall of the Moon and The Wall of the Sun, in ceramic tiles, for the UNESCO building, Paris (1957) and a mural at Barcelona airport (1969). After 1945 he divided his time between Majorca, Barcelona and Paris.

The quiet one: Joan Miro

IF THERE is such a thing as a born artist, Joan Miro was one. Almost as soon as he learnt to write, he handed his parents a note which read: "I wish to become a painter." They enlisted the young Joan at art school, but he did not do well there, and in 1910 he was enrolled as a trainee at a Barcelona haberdashers. His career as a clerk was short. Miro took to sketching in the ledgers. He also fell so ill that he was sent to the family's country house to convalesce. The influence of the landscape around Mont-Roig, in southern Catalonia, can be seen in many of the 180 paintings now assembled in Barcelona to mark the centenary of Miro's birth. The exhibition, which runs until...

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