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Joan Miro

Joan Miró, 1893-1983

Spanish painter, graphic artist, sculptor.

Spanish painter Joan Miró’s colorful art veers toward abstraction but always maintains a connection to nature, humanity and the cosmos. His work has a surrealist tendency such that the realms of the memory and imaginative fantasy are twin poles around which Miró’s art has evolved. It was through his relationships with Surrealist poets and painters in Paris in the 1920s that Miró developed a visual language of signs. His highly detailed paintings offered a new system of symbols in the form of curvilinear lines and biomorphic shapes that melded the realm of the unconscious to essential life forms.

Miró’s works before 1920 reflect the influence of different movements such as the bright colors used in Fauvism, shapes from Cubism and folk objects from Catalan art. His move to Paris in 1921 brought important inspiration from the Surrealists. A decade later, Miró began producing a series of collages, which eventually led to the creation of Surrealist sculptures that incorporated painted stones and found objects.

Shocked by the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), Miró rendered vivid pictures of figures in nightmarish scenarios, which culminated in the lost mural The Reaper, 1937 for the Spanish pavilion at the Exposition Universelle in Paris. Toward the end of the war, Miró painted his renowned Constellation series (1940s), which in its new style of openness had a great influence on American art.

Miró’s relationship to printmaking was tentative at first, having not found the right fit until he met painter and print shop owner Louis Marcoussis. Upon mastering his methodical working process, Miró would eventually produce over two thousand prints. Although he experimented with many artistic forms in printmaking, Miró’s Black and Red Series, 1938 are particularly intriguing given their systematic use of more than one copper plate and color inking.


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