About the Artist
“The more ignoble I find life, the more strongly I react by contradiction, in humor and in an outburst of liberty and expansion.”
— Joan Miro
Early Life and Education
Spanish painter, printmaker and sculptor, Joan Miro, was born in Barcelona in 1893. Miro’s father owned a jewelry store and wanted his son to go into business. Miro attended the Barcelona School of Commerce and also took classes at the Fine Art Academy, over the objections of his father. When he was eighteen, Miro contracted typhus and also fell into a severe depression. The family sent him to recover on a farm they owned, near the village of Montroig. Miro began to paint seriously in Montroig, and returned to the farm every summer.
Miro had his first solo exhibit at the avant-garde Galeries Dalmau in Barcelona. The show was not a success and Miro’s paintings were ridiculed. Miro went to Paris in 1920, where he met some of the artists and writers of the Dada movement. His paintings became bolder and more surreal, often including ladders reaching from the earth to the sky, as a symbol of possible means of escape at a tumultuous time in Spain. Miro’s work became progressively more surreal, responding to the Depression, war and political unrest that plagued Barcelona and the rest of Europe.
Career and Family Life
Miro married Pilar Juncosa 1929. Their daughter, Dolores, was born in 1931. The family lived in Paris, visiting Barcelona during the summer months, until the rise of Franco and the ensuing Civil War. Miro began his Constellation Series during this time. In 1940, Miro and the family left Paris, which was under German siege, and went to Mallorca, to the home of his wife’s parents. MoMA presented a retrospective of Miro’s work in 1941, which led to commissions, including a mural for the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. Miro was always outspoken about the war and the unrest that had plagued his country for so long. There was a two-year period of time, in the 1950s, when Miro stopped painting and worked on ceramics and prints. He built a home and studio in Mallorca in 1957, where he completed some of his finest work. Miro worked every day, until his death, at his Mallorca home in 1983, at the age of 90.
After the death of Franco, in 1975, King Juan Carlos established a constitutional monarchy. In 1980, the king awarded Miro the Gold Medal for Fine Art. A museum in Barcelona and his home and studio in Mallorca are both dedicated to Miro’s work. Joan Miro’s work Peinture (Etoile Bleue) sold for more than £23.5 million ($34.2 million) in London, in 2012, which set a new auction record for the Miro’s work.