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Joan Miró: a Brief Review of the Life of an Artist of International Projection

In today´s post we talk about Joan Miró and we will do a small review of the life of an artist of international projection. Joan Miró was born on the 20th of April in 1893 in the city of Barcelona. He studied commerce, not exactly because he liked it, but more out of the desire of his father for him to obtain a trade and manage to be ¨someone in life.” However, the desire, eagerness and commitment of the teenager to fulfill his dream prevailed. Encountering the possibility of night classes, Miró ended up enrolling in the Higher School of Industrial Arts and Fine Arts in order to do what he liked best, draw. His father had no choice but to accept his request because, after all, it wouldn´t become more than a hobby would it?

I want to be a painter!

In 1910 Miró finished his business studies. He was only 17 years old when he started to work as an accountant in the house of Dalmau I Oliveres, where he specialized in drugstore and colonial products. In the same year, Joan, who never stopped drawing, appeared in an exposition of modern and antique portraits and drawings organized by the city council, where he participated for the first time.

Only one year later, in 1911, he contracted typhoid fever. Faced with the impossibility of being able to sit up to work, he went to the small town of Mont – roig del Camp, to a farmhouse that his parents had just bought for his recovery. Several months passed until he returned to Barcelona, however, all of the time that he was there served him to make a firm decision, he would dedicate himself completely to painting. Although they had certain reservations, Miró´s parents granted him permission to enroll in the School of Art by Francesc Galí and the Cercle Artístic de Sant Lluc, where he would attend modeling sessions.

Growing up Surrounded by Artists and Art Critics

From then on, Miró grew up surrounded by teachers, artists, developers, art critics, and dealers who believed in and supported him. Josep Dalmau was one of these, and thanks to him Joan Miró gave his first individual exhibition in the Dalmau Galleries of Barcelona in 1918. The first paintings were clearly influenced by the final French tendencies, above all fovism, postimpressionism, and cubism.

Towards 1921 Miró traveled to Paris for the second time, this time to stay, but only during the school months, because every summer he returned to Mont-roig, allowing himself to be permeated by the landscapes that surrounded his farmhouse. In fact, one of his first, most well known works makes reference to this house, a painting called La Masía, about which the painter said at the time “it is a perfect summary of all my life in the field.” Currently, the painting is conserved in the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC, and the house that is in the picture was converted into the Mas Miró foundation last April.

An Eclectic Artist

During the first two decades of the 20th century, one saw the work of Miró as very influenced by the cubism of Pablo Picasso, whom Miró was lucky enough to have known. However, if there was a style that truly characterized him it was Surrealism. It is the potential that this movement offered, in which one could make an allusion to dreams and the unconscious world, where Miró found the perfect subject matter for his future works.

Between the 30´s and 40´s he pushed and experimented with new techniques like that of collage and the incorporation of materials that were not pictorial into his paintings and pictures. This incessant search to continually want to achieve new things would lead him to work with sculpture and ceramics, in which fields he managed to make more than 200 works.

New Home, New Source of Inspiration

Already in his late fifties, Miró, after short stays in Normandy, Paris, and the United States, decided to sell his apartment in Barcelona and moved to live permanently in Palma de Mallorca. Here, like other Catalan painters in Mallorca, was where his house and a workshop were constructed by one of the greatest Catalan architects, Josep Lluís Sert. Every new home, every new workshop, and every new landscape, helped the artist to develop new techniques, change his style, and in short, grow to become one of the most important artists that the twentieth century has given us.

It was precisely here in Mallorca where Miró completed the order for the two enormous ceramic murals for the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. One, titled La Luna, was made with ceramic plates and measures 220 x 750 cm. The other, titled El Sol, has dimensions of 220 x 1500 cm. The artist used a total of 585 ceramic plates to complete it. He received the biennial prize of the Guggenheim foundation for his work in 1958.

The Man with the Tapestries

New year´s eve 1966, María Dolors Miró, the only daughter of Joan Miró, was run over by a train at Montroig´s level crossing. The young doctor, Dr. Rafael Orozco, saved and healed María´s wounds. For payment for his services, the doctor asked that the artist paint a picture to decorate some of the waiting rooms in the Red Cross Hospital of Tarragona.

With time, the painting became the seed of a greater work achieved by the new artist Josep Royo. It was a tapestry of great dimensions that Miró titled the Tapestry of Tarragona. Several years later, this would become the start of several collaborations to create other tapestries. Currently, the Tapestry of Tarragona can be found in the Tarragona Museum of Modern art.

There were four total tapestries that the artists created together. A tragic history is hidden behind one of them. It was given the title of the Great Tapestry because its measurements were 6 meters tall by 11 meters wide and it weighed four tons. It was created with hemp, wool, and rope to decorate the lobby of the World Trade Center in New York, but it disappeared under the rubble of the terrible attack on the Twin Towers.

Creation of the Joan Miró Foundation

During his last years of life the artist continued to create, although less, because he really focused on one of his largest projects, the creation of the Joan Miró Foundation, Center of Contemporary Art Studies in Barcelona, consisting of a great fund of works donated by the artist. The foundation opened its doors to the public in 1975.

After the opening of the Foundation, numerous expositions were organized its center, as well as in other state institutions. Several openings, like that of the monumental sculpture Pareja de enamorados de los juegos de flores de almendor, in the Paris neighborhood La Défense, or that