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Joan Miró

“When I stand in front of a canvas, I never know what I’m going to do – and nobody is more surprised than I at what comes out.”

Joan Miró
Joan Miró

Joan Miró is regarded as one of the most original artists of the 20th century, who often worked with a limited palette, yet the colors he used were bold and expressive. His mature style evolved from the tension between his fanciful, poetic impulse and his vision of the harshness of modern life. Miró worked extensively in lithography and produced many murals, tapestries, and sculptures for public spaces. Despite his fame, he continued to devote himself exclusively to looking and creating.

Joan Miró was born in Barcelona, Spain on April 20, 1893. His father was an artisan watchmaker and goldsmith. Based on his parents’ wishes, Miró attended a commercial college, then found work as a clerk in an office for a short period of time. Unfulfilled by his profession, Miró asked for his parent’s permission to allow him to attend art school in Barcelona in 1912. There, he gained great experience learning under Francisco Galí.

Miró worked in Spain from 1915 to 1919, painting landscapes, portraits, and more. He experimented with different styles including Fauvist style and Cubism.
In 1920, Miró traveled to Paris where he met Pablo Picasso. The two artists struct an ideologically influential friendship in which they would often discuss artistic styles, muses, and inspiration. It was also during this time Miró split much of his time between Paris, France and Montroig, Spain. José Dalmau organized Miró’s first solo exhibition at the Galerie la Licorne in 1921. Miró eventually joined the Surrealist group and he was included in the first Surrealist exhibition at the Galerie Pierre. In 1929, Miró started working in lithography. In 1941, Miró printed his Constellation series, a collection characterized by stars, birds, women, and use of primary colors. This series contained one of his most important works, “The Morning Star”, and increased his status within the Surrealistic art movement.
Miró was included in the Cubism and Abstract Art and Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 1942 he was commissioned to create a monumental work for the Paris World’s Fair. Miró’s first major museum retrospective was held in 1941 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. In 1944, he finalized his Barcelona Series, a compilation dedicated to the political strife and Civil War that saturated his home city.

In 1980, in conjunction with his being awarded Spain’s Gold Medal of Fine Arts, a plaza in Madrid was named in Miró’s honor. Joan Miró died on December 25, 1983. Martin Lawrence Galleries is honored to have select Joan Miró artworks, which can be found here.