The Spanish painter Joan Miró was one of the most original artists of the twentieth century. He is perhaps the best known of the Surrealist painters, who drew their subject matter from the realm of memory, the irrational, and imaginative fantasy rather than the natural world.
Born in Barcelona in 1893, Miró first studied at La Lonja School of Fine Arts and later at the Academia Galí. Miró's early works reveal the influence of Fauvism, Cubism, and Catalan folk art. Upon moving to Paris in 1920, Miró was introduced to a number of Surrealist poets and writers whose ideas would have a profound influence on his mature style. Miró's works from this time forward are often whimsical, playful images of animals and shapes that have been distorted and contorted from their natural forms. The myriad subjects of his paintings are depicted in bright, vivid colors against a flat, neutral-colored background. Odd amorphous shapes are juxtaposed with sharply drawn lines, spots, and curlicues. Miró's work became increasingly abstract as he progressed as an artist, and his later works are reduced to mere spots, lines, and bursts of color.
In the 1950s, Miró began to experiment with a variety of other media, especially intaglio and lithography. It was during this period that Miró created two ceramic murals for the UNESCO building in Paris (The Wall of the Moon and the Wall of the Sun). From the late 1960s until his death in 1983, he focused primarily on monumental and public works. In 1976 the Joan Miró Foundation Center of Contemporary Art Study opened in Barcelona.
In the Artist's Own Words
"I feel the need of attaining the maximum of intensity with the minimum of means. It is this which has led me to give my painting a character of even greater bareness."
"I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music."
"Throughout the time in which I am working on a canvas, I can feel how I am beginning to love it, with that love which is born of slow comprehension."