Katie McCarthy

Joan Miró, born April 20, 1893 in Barcelona, Spain, had an interest in art from an early age. He took drawing classes as a child and went to the School of Industrial and Fine Arts in Barcelona. He then spent another three years studying art at the Cercle Artístic de Sant Lluc and in a school governed by Francesco Galí, after deciding he wanted to be a painter when recovering from typhoid.

Miró met Picasso, one of his favorite painters, when he was traveling in Paris in 1920. It was after this encounter that his work became Surreal. His closest friend was fellow Surrealist artist, Max Ernest. They worked on set and costume designs together. Not long after, Miró started exploring other mediums such as collages, lithographs, etchings, and engravings.

He moved to Paris for a time during the Spanish Civil War where he continued his career, but eventually moved back to Spain.

Later in his career, he worked on many public displays such as murals and “plop art” (large, public modern/abstract/contemporary statues/sculptures).

In his late years, Miró started The Joan Miró foundation, Center for Study of Contemporary Art; which is where he donated all his artwork to, in total: 240 paintings, 175 sculptures, nine textiles, four ceramics, and 8,000 drawings. Before his death, he was titled Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Barcelona. He died on December 25, 1983 from heart disease.

In the spirit of Surrealism’s dream conveyance, Miró often had childlike, whimsical imagery with simplified forms and shapes that were much more expressive and representational than actually accurate. Most of his works did not “make sense,” with strange, distorted images and use of juxtaposition, just like the majority of surrealist paintings.

He worked in many mediums. Of which included: painting (of various types), collages, lithographs, etchings, engravings, murals, ceramic sculpture, and set and costume design.

Miró’s work had three steps: “first, the suggestion…second, the conscious organization of these forms; and third, the compositional enrichment.”

His first art show pieces were influenced by Fauvism, Cubism, folk-Catalan art, and Roman Frescoes. However these first pieces are very different from his later works. His work turned Surreal after his meeting with Picasso in Paris.

21ST CENTURY COMPARISON: Elisabeth Ollé Curiel
This artist compares to Miró’s work with a number of things: the use of distorted/simplified portraiture is present, there are many colors being used–creating a playful, whimsical effect, and also the use of lines and overlapping planes and shapes. An obvious difference between the two artists is that Miró used much finer lines than Curiel, giving a slightly different feel to his work.

I am definitely drawn to his later pieces, the childlike distortion and use of space are very appealing to me. Some of the color and stylistic choices are kind of “gross” though. Were I to paint in his style I would use much “prettier” colors. He seems like a very fun artist to work with and I would have loved to do so, and get a glimpse inside his wonderfully creative mind.


“Joan Miró Biography (1893-1983) – Life of Spanish Artist.” Totally History.
N.p., 2012. Web. 11 Apr. 2014. .
“The Origins of Surrealism.” The Art History Archive. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2014. .

Joan Miró
“Maternity” 1924, oil on canvas, 92 x 73 cm
“The Nightingale’s Song at Midnight and the Morning Rain” 1940, Gouache and terpentine paint on paper, 38 x 46 cm
“Painting (Head)” 1930, oil on canvas, 230.2 x 165.5 cm
“Swallow/Love” 1934, oil on canvas, 199.3 x 247.6 cm
“Mètamorphose” 1936, crayon and watercolor, collage. 64 x 47.8 cm
“Ciphers and Constellations, in Love with a Woman” 1941, gouache and terpentine on paper
“Prades, the Village” 1917, oil on canvas, 65 x 72.5 cm
“Figure” 1970, Bronze 200 x 100 x 120

Elisabeth Ollé Curiel
“La Mediterranea” 2009, mixed media on canvas, 200 x 250.2 cm












Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s