Joan Miro (1893 – 1983)

Joan Miro was born in Barcelona on 20th April 1893. He was an illustrious painter, sculptor, printmaker and ceramicist. He inhabited two lives: one of frenetic and intellectual activity; and the second, a meditative introspection. His early work consisted of still life, landscapes, genre scenes and influences of folk art from his native Catalan region of Spain. Later his work is characterised by flattened forms, with a clear line. Often seen as sexual in it’s content, Miro’s signature lies in his biomorphic forms, bold yet limited colour pallette and geometric shapes.

The son of Miquel Miro, a prosperous goldsmith and Dolors Ferra, the daughter of a cabinetmaker, he began drawing as a child and when he was just 8 years of age he could already create works of strict Realism. Later, he was encouraged to enter a school of commerce in Barcelona. Miro continued his passion for the arts and in 1907, aged 14, he enrolled at the La Llotja School of Fine Arts, where he came under the pupilage of Ricardo Urgell. He spent some of his teenage years as a clerk. He found the oppressive nature of this work too much and sadly suffered a nervous breakdown, followed by a bout of typhoid.

After this Miro made the decision to dedicate his life to his art and again started art school of Francisco Gali, where he became interested in contemporary painting, impressionism, fauvism, cubism and surrealism. In 1919 he visited Paris where he became friends with Picasso. In 1920 he moved to a studio there, motivated by his intellectual curiosity and the social whirl. In 1924 Miro joined the Surrealist group. It has been said that Miro cannot be pinned to a particular art movement. Instead he moves back and forth between detail oriented paintings and figurative ones.