Painter Joan Miró was born in Barcelona in 1893, the son of a Catalonian goldsmith. He trained as an artist in his home city before moving to Paris — the hotbed of the modernist avant-garde. Miró arrived in 1920 as a near-penniless painter of skilled Fauvist canvases. The following decades would see him hailed as one of the most unique and important artists of his generation.
Miró’s early career was dogged by doubt and crisis. His first solo exhibition in Barcelona in 1918 was a failure. Three years later, having exhibited in Paris for the first time, he experienced a crisis of doubt. His breakthrough came in 1924. Under the influence of Dadaists and Surrealist writers André Breton and Louis Aragon, he freed his work from the restraints of realistic representation. With Tilled Field (1923–24) and Harlequin’s Carnival (1924–25), Miró invented a new representational space. Ideas of reality were subjected to the artist’s unconscious and imagination, and simplified to biomorphic abstraction.
Although Breton would describe him as ‘the most surrealist of us all,’ Miró’s work would resist being so neatly pigeonholed. Even as modern art became more concerned with ideas of abstraction, he continued to explore ideas of representation and its relationship to the human unconscious. This is perhaps most beautifully exampled in his 1940s masterpieces Woman and Bird in the Night (1947) and Bullfight (1945). Although remembered principally as a painter, over a seven-decade career Miró also worked in sculpture, ceramics, tapestry and, most prolifically, prints.
Returning to Spain during the Nazi occupation of France, Miró settled in Mallorca. Eight years before his death, when he was now the grand master of the old avant garde, a museum dedicated to his work, the Fundació Joan Miró, opened in the hills above Barcelona.
Painting-Poem ("le corps de ma brune puisque je l'aime comme ma chatte habillée en vert salade comme de la grêle c'est pareil")
Le serpent à coquelicots traînant sur un champ de violettes peuplé par des lézards en deuil
L'Oiseau s'envole vers la zone où le duvet pousse sur les collines encerclées d'or (The Bird Flies Off to Where Down Grows on the Gold-Rimmed Hills)
La tige de la fleur rouge pousse vers la lune (The Stem of the Red Flower Grows Toward the Moon)