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".