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Joan Miró (April 20, 1893 – December 25, 1983) was a Catalan Spanish painter, sculptor and ceramist born in Barcelona.
Joan Miró photo taken by Carl Van Vechten, 1935His work has been interpreted as Surrealism, a fascination with the subconsious mind, an interest in recreating the child-like, and Catalan and Spanish pride. In numerous writing and interviews dating from the 1930s forward, Miró expressed contempt for conventional painting methods and his desire to abandon them (in his words "murder" and "assassinate" them) in favour of more contemporary means of expression.
As a young man, Miró was drawn towards the arts community that was gathering in Montparnasse and in 1920 moved to Paris. There, under the influence of Surrealist poets and writers, he developed his unique style: organic forms and flattened picture planes drawn with a sharp line. Generally thought of as a Surrealist because of his interest in automatism and the use of sexual symbols (for example, ovoids with wavy lines emanating from them), Miró’s style was influenced in varying degrees by Surrealism and Dada, yet he rejected membership to any artistic movement in the interwar European years. André Breton, the founder of Surrealism, described him as "the most Surrealist of us all." Breton was known for his affinity to automatism and promoted using starvation, lack of sleep, and drugs for inducing hallucinogenic states conducive to create art that reveals the subconscious. Miró confessed to creating one of his most famous works, Harlequin's Carnival, while hallucinating due to a lack of food.
By not becoming an official member of the Surrealists, Miró was free to experiment with any artistic style that he wished without compromising his position within the group and being accused of not being a “true” Surrealist. He pursued his own interests while the art world, both within and between groups which politicked and jockeyed for prominence. Miró’s artistic autonomy, in that he did not adhere to any one particular style, is reflected in his work and his willingness to work with several media.
In an interview with biographer Walter Erben, Miró expressed his dislike for art critics, saying, they "are more concerned with being philosophers than anything else. They form a preconceived opinion, then they look at the work of art. Painting merely serves as a cloak in which to wrap their emaciated philosophical systems."
In 1926, he collaborated with Max Ernst on designs for Sergei Diaghilev. With Miró's help, Ernst pioneered the technique of grattage, in which he troweled pigment onto his canvases.
Miró married Pilar Juncosa in Palma de Mallorca on October 12, 1929; their daughter Dolores was born July 17, 1931.
Shuzo Takiguchi published the first monograph on Miró in 1940.
Joan Miró won the 1954 Venice Biennale printmaking prize, and in 1980 he received the Gold Medal of Fine Arts from King Juan Carlos of Spain. In 1959, André Breton asked Miró to represent Spain in The Homage to Surrealism together with works by Enrique Tábara, Salvador Dalí, and Eugenio Granell.
In his final decades Miró accelerated his work in different media producing hundreds of ceramics, including the Wall of the Moon and Wall of the Sun at the UNESCO building in Paris. He also made temporary window paintings (on glass) for an exhibit.
In the last years of his life Miró wrote his most radical and least known ideas, exploring the possibilities of gas sculpture and four-dimensional painting.
Miró died in Mallorca December 25, 1983.
Many of his pieces are exhibited today in the Fundació Joan Miró in Montjuïc, Barcelona; he is buried nearby, at the Montjuïc cemetery.
Today, his paintings sell between US$250,000 and US$8 million.