Joan Miró (or Miro) (1893-1983)

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Playful, joyful, energetic and colourful, Joan Miró's paint language appears very simple – bird, star, sun, moon, figure, colour, surface, and so on. But like the best poets, the artist's juggling of these elements is sophisticated and playful at the same time. The results are unique, immediately recognisable and vibrant - a delight to behold.

Spanish artist, Joan Miró, was born in 1893.  He grew up in a middle-class family in the Catalan region of Spain and his very individual approach to his art reflected the strong sense of national identity that characterised the Catalan spirit. 

Joan Miro Personnage devant le Soleil
Peronagge Devan le Soleil
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Miró was passionate about art from an early age and after a failed attempt by his family to get him into business, he was allowed to pursue his artistic studies.  His early work was influenced by the Fauve painters and Cubism.  He admired Picasso’s work and eventually left Barcelona to live in Paris where he spent six months of each year, working alongside other artists in relative poverty.  The other half of the year he spent in Spain on the family farm.

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Like his fellow Catalan artist, Salvador Dali, Miró is most closely associated with the surrealist movement started by Andre Breton.  While Dali embraced surrealism wholeheartedly, with  Miró it is more accurate to say that surrealism embraced him.  

Constantly experimenting in his work, he was careful never to align himself completely with any one art movement. His take on the world is quirky, humorous, child-like in its depiction of subject-matter yet extremely sophisticated in its ability to comment on life’s experiences.

Dali, flamboyant, attention-seeking, extreme, takes us to the edge with paintings that show us a world that is distorted and disturbing.  Miró’s approach is calmer, more playful.  Always his own person, never interested in playing to the gallery, his work feels focused, centred, stable.  His view of the world is uplifting, fun, life-enhancing.

Joan Miro Blue I, II, III
Blue I, II and III
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To wander around the Fondació Joan Miró in Barcelona  is to have a great time and to be reminded that life is filled with colour and shape and that the small things in the world are worth noticing and celebrating.   Above all, Miró  reminds  us how important a sense of humour is in life and his brilliant paintings, sculptures, wall hangings and ceramics give us permission to stop taking ourselves so seriously.