1893 – 1983

Joan Miró Ferra was born April 20, 1893, in Barcelona. He attended business school in Barcelona at the age of fourteen and then shifted his attention to studying art at La Lonia’s Escuela Superior de Artes Industriales y Belles Artes in the same city. He took a position as a clerk upon finishing three years of art school, but then abandoned business after suffering a nervous breakdown. He then continued his art studies at Francesc Gali’s Escola d’Art in Barcelona from 1912 to 1915. Jose Dalmau, a dealer who recognized talent in the young artist, gave Miró his first solo show at his gallery in Barcelona in 1918.


As Miró emerged onto the international art scene, he began to associate with other influential early modernists. In 1917, he met the painter Francis Picabia and in 1920, upon his first trip to Paris, he was introduced to Pablo Picasso. Miró’s work at this time showed a wide range of influences, including the bright colors of the Fauves, the broken forms of cubism, and the powerful, flat two-dimensionality of Catalan folk art and Romanesque church frescoes of his native Spain. But under the influence of the surrealist poets and painters he associated with in the early 1920’s his style matured and he began to draw on memory, fantasy, and the irrational to create works of art with twisted organic shapes and odd geometric constructions that were visual representations of surrealist poetry. Dalmau organized Miró’s first solo exhibition in Paris in 1921. Additionally, his work was included in the famous Salon d’Autumn of 1923. In 1925 he took part in the First Surrealist Exhibition and, along with Dali, was recognized as one of the leading Spanish Surrealist painters.


Miró also experimented in a wide array of other media, concentrating on etchings and lithographs for several years in the 1950s and also working in watercolor, pastel, collage, ceramics, and paint on copper and masonite. In 1954, he received the Grand Prize for Graphic Work at the Venice Biennale and in 1958 he was given a Guggenheim International Award for the two large ceramic murals he executed for the UNESCO building in Paris. Miró died in Majorca, Spain, on December 25, 1983.