Joan Miro

Joan Miro

Referred to as the "most Surrealist of us all" by Andre Breton, Joan Miro i Ferra was born on April 20, 1893 in Barcelona. Resisting being pigeon holed as an artist in a particular style, it is his use of sexual symbols and a great interest in automatism that earned him recognition as a surrealist artist. Some of his work, however, shows inspiration from the Dada movement.

Miro studied at the Barcelona School of Fine Arts, and then moved to Paris in 1923. It was there that he met German surrealist Max Ernst, and together they designed several pieces for Sergei Diaghilev, a Russian art critic. It was this collaboration that produced the surrealist painting technique known as grattage, where paint is scraped off of the canvas with a trowel.

Later in his career, Joan Miromoved away from painting to focus on other mediums, including ceramics and sculpting. Two of the most famous of the hundreds of ceramics pieces he created – The Wall of the Moon and The Wall of the Sun - are on display at the UNESCO Building in Paris. He also created temporary paintings on glass windows for an exhibit in his later years. It was toward the end of his life that he began writing some of his most unusual ideas, including gas sculpting.

Miro was the recipient of several prestigious awards during his lifetime. In 1954, he received the Venice Biennale print making prize for images depicting the Spanish Civil War. In 1958, he received the Guggenheim International Award, and just a few years prior to his death, he was presented with a Gold Medal of Fine Arts by King Juan Carlos of Spain.

Miro married Pilar Juncosa in 1929, and the couple welcomed daughter Dolores in 1931. He died in Mallorca in 1983, bedridden and stricken with heart disease and respiratory problems. He is buried in Montjuic Cemetery in Barcelona.

Much of Miros works can be seen at the Joan Miro Foundation Center for Contemporary Art in Barcelona; and there are several pieces at the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. A Miro painting today commands a price tag of up to $10 million.

Surrealism Artists