• gerard van weyenbergh

Joan Miro, his art + video

In short

A “miraculous” painter, in the words of Robert Desnos, the Spaniard Joan Miró (1893–1983) is closely associated with the history of surrealism. Creator of a very personal and free dream world, his painting nevertheless borders on lyrical abstraction. Its brightly colored palette is dominated by blue. A prolific artist, Miró has produced no less than 2,000 paintings, 5,000 drawings and collages, 500 sculptures, and 400 ceramics! The painter is also known for having responded to large public commissions.

He said

“What is important is not to finish a work, but to see that one day it will allow something to begin. "


His life

Miró was born in Barcelona in 1893, a city ​​of culture. Son of a craftsman, very gifted and interested in art, he trained in a free academy where he discovered wild beasts and post-impressionists, a painting full of colors!

Miró arrived in Paris after the Great War, in 1920. Close to Picasso (he discovered Cubism on this occasion ), he met the Dadaist milieu and the avant-garde. Miró develops a free pictorial language, which is not far from the automatic writing experiments carried out by Robert Desnos or André Breton. The latter admired him to the point of considering him "as the most surrealist of all of us." André Masson , Max Jacob, Jacques Prévert, Aragon, Paul Éluard become his friends. Since then, Miró is part of the surrealist constellation; he also signs the manifesto.

Miró paints dreamlike themes, often populated by women and birds, stars or comets, images emerging from his unconscious. Blue will become his color, that of the sky and the sea, immaterial and mysterious. He wants to be free. However, the artist insists on certain violence associated with his desire to get rid of classic codes, which he claims to have wanted to “kill”. This very strong word indicates that this path to liberation is the fruit of an intense personal struggle.

In the 1930s, his works were exhibited in the United States, where they were well received. The painter broke away from the Parisian surrealists, even if he continued to participate in the group's exhibitions. He finds his own language, between figuration and abstraction. In the 1940s, he became an important master, so much so that the Museum of Modern Art devoted a retrospective to him in 1941. Six years later, he visited America for the first time, but it was in Spain that 'he settled in 1943 with his family.

The 1940s and 1950s were marked by the use of new techniques, in particular in sculpture and engraving. At the same time, his painting gains in monumentality. In the 1960s, he joined forces with the Maeght couple, who established their foundation in Saint-Paul-de-Vence. He participated in the decoration of the gardens and created Le Labyrinthe , including monumental works. This foundation currently has 275 works by the artist. In recent years, Miró will be called upon to participate in major projects in Europe and the United States.

Miró has never ceased to be celebrated and rewarded with major international prizes, and his reputation was mainly made in the United States, before shining in Europe. In 1975, the Joan Miró Foundation opened its doors in Barcelona, ​​with the help of an important fund bequeathed by the painter, who liked to define himself as an “international Catalan”.

His key works


Miro art expert
© Collection Albright-Knox Art gallery

Carnaval d'Arlequin 1924-1925 This is one of the most famous paintings from Miró's surrealist period. The artist feeds on his "hallucinations". In fact, having hardly any financial means at the time, he said he suffered from hunger and used this feeling to create. In this very detailed work, the characters are grotesque in appearance, mixed with imaginary forms inspired by animals and objects.


Miro art expert
© Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris

Blue II, 1961

This work is typical of the large formats produced by Miró in his maturity. A work of liberation, it also maintains kinship with abstraction, and in particular the canvases of American artists that Miró knew. However, for whom the form is always the sign of reality, the painter did not consider himself an abstract. This work is part of a triptych.

Miro Art expert
© https://www.parisladouce.com

Two fantastic characters, 1976

In this modern architectural ensemble from the 1970s, alongside Calder, these two colorful sculptures by Miró amuse and impress walkers. The two characters resemble carnival figures that contrast with the austerity of the architecture. This achievement is part of the artist's last period, who has received many commissions attached to public works since the 1950s (as at Unesco). Close up Miro art video ( 1/2 hour) © Beaux Arts