20% OFF FRAMING for a limited time only

Joan Miro Artist Biography

The Catalan fantasy painter, sculptor, ceramicist, printmaker and designer Joan Miró was one of the greatest modern artists and a highly influential figure in 20th century Spanish painting. As prolific and long-lived as his elder compatriot Pablo Picasso , Joan Miró was an exponent of Magic Realism and also Surrealism, being famous for his experimental abstract art, that employs simple dreamy forms floating on fields of color, as well as his use of automatism in art. 

Joan Miró was born in1893 in Barcelona, in the Catalan region of Spain. At the age of 14, he went to business school in Barcelona and also attended La Lonja’s Escuela Superior de Artes Industriales y Bellas Artes in the same city. Upon completing three years of art studies, he took a position as a clerk. After suffering a nervous breakdown, he abandoned business and resumed his art studies, attending Francesc Galí’s Escola d’Art in Barcelona from 1912 to 1915. Joan Miró received early encouragement from the dealer José Dalmau, who gave him his first solo show at his gallery in Barcelona in 1918. In 1917 he met Francis Picabia.

Like many of his contemporaries, Joan Miró found it necessary to venture to Paris to complete his education. He first visited the French capital in 1919 and for the next 17 years spent every winter in Paris and summers at his family's farm outside Barcelona. During the trip to Paris, he was exposed to many new forms and new artists, he associated with the poets Max Jacob, Pierre Reverdy, and Tristan Tzara, which caused a change in the style creating new pieces of art. In 1921, he has his first solo show in Paris, at the Galerie la Licorne. His work was included in the Salon d’Automne of 1923.

In 1924, Miró joined the Surrealists, a movement and philosophy to which he remained faithful throughout the remainder of his career. 'Harlequin's Carnival' (1924-1925) was Miró's first major work and it contains many of the characteristics that made up his distinctive vision.

In 1940, Joan Miró returned to Spain, escaping the German occupation of France and eventually settling in Majorca. A year later the Museum of Modern Art in New York devoted a retrospective exhibition to Joan Miró and with this, he achieved international recognition. From paintings such as 'Morning Star' (1940) to 'Woman, Bird' (1976) the Miró style was unmistakable. Using vibrant colors and bizarre forms, he stayed true to the Surrealist ideology without ever submitting to obvious devices. His freely invented calligraphy of highly colored forms derived from Breton.

In 1944, he began making ceramics with the potter Josep Llorens Artigas and soon took up sculpture beginning with small-scale terracotta's and eventually making large-scale pieces for casting in bronze.

Joan Miró had always wanted to have his work widely recognized and in 1958 he was given a Guggenheim International Award for murals for the UNESCO building in Paris. The following year he resumed painting, initiating a series of mural-sized canvases. During the 1960s, he began to work intensively in sculpture. Joan Miró retrospectives took place at the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris, in 1962, and the Grand Palais, Paris, in 1974. In 1978, the Musée National d’Art Moderne exhibited over five hundred works in a major retrospective of his drawings.

Joan Miró died on December 25, 1983, in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.

Known for their flamboyant personalities, Joan Miró was an understated figure devoted purely to his work and his public. He was fascinated with subverting traditional forms such as humans and animals and finding new ways of depicting them. In his own words, Miró was driven by his need "to rediscover the sources of human feeling".

More art prints from Joan Miro

Libelle mit roten Flugeln By Joan Miro
Senzo Titolo By Joan Miro
Landscape (The Hare) (Pasage (Le Lievre)), Autumn 1927 By Joan Miro
Scroll To Top