“I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music. “
– Joan Miro
Joan Miro is known for his playful art. His emblematic images make a naive, childlike impression at first sight. In contrast to the image of his art, he was a solid, hard-working man who preferred to come to gallery exhibitions in dark business suits.
His Early Years
Joan was born as the son of a goldsmith and jewelry maker in Barcelona in Northern Spain. He studied arts at the Barcelona School of Fine Arts and at the Academia Gali. His parents would rather have seen him taking a job as a serious businessman. He even took business classes in 1907 parallel to his art classes. Joan worked as an accountant for nearly two years until he had some kind of a nervous breakdown. His parents finally accepted their son’s choice of a career as an artist without giving him too much support.
In the beginnings of his career he dabbled in different painting styles that were fashionable at the turn of the century like Fauvism and Cubism.
Paris – the Mecca of Arts
In 1920 Miro made the first of a series of trips to Paris. In 1921 he settled permanently in the French capital. He met Pablo Picasso and many of the other great painters and artists living in Paris – the center of arts in the late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century.
From 1924 on, Miro joined the circle of the Surrealist theorist Andre Breton. His painting style took a turn to Surrealism. His comrades were Andre Masson and Max Ernst. But he never integrated himself completely into this group dominated by Andre Breton. He remained an outsider.
By 1930 the artist had developed his own style and his fame and recognition became international. From 1940 to 1948 he was back in Spain. During this period he experimented in different media – sculpture, ceramics and murals.
In 1947, he came to the United States for the first time. He had several one-man shows. The most important one was a retrospective at the MoMA – The Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1951 and in 1959. In 1954 he won a prize at the Venice Biennale. In 1968 the artist finished a commission for two large ceramic murals at the UNESCO buildings in Paris.