Thursday, October 11, 2012

Joan Miro

Joan Miró at home in his studio in Palma de Mallorca, c1977. Photograph: Christian Simonpietri/ Sygma/ Corbis

Joan Miro (1893-1983)  is a Catalan artist most known for surrealist drawings, sculptures, and paintings, which are colored by a variety of influences such as Catalan nationalism, cubism, and surrealism. His art is characterized by bold, brilliant colors and simplified shapes and figures.  
You can recognize his style by the big, bold brushstrokes and his use of primary colors. At first glance his pictures may seem simplistic and even childlike. Miro's art holds a much greater significance, however.

Joan Miro-Toledo

I was drawn to Miro by the primary colors in his art and by the fact that at first I thought his art looked like children's drawings. Miro’s apparent playfulness, however, was hard won, as he lived through two world wars and a civil war in his home country. In a 1936 interview, Miro spoke of the need to "resist all societies...if the aim is to impose their demands on us."  His sense of absolute individual liberty shows through in his art work, calling for a type of awe and wonder of the world and a need to withdraw into the land of the imagination.

After 1920, Miro's art began to join the circle of surrealist expression.  As can be seen in his art, Miro believed in a reality that transcends the material. Miro’s painting “The Farm” appears to be a hallucinogenic vision, where in the world of the metaphysical, hallucinations may take us places unreachable during consciousness.

Joan Miro Painting 1921-1922 - "The Farm

In 1937, Miro found himself forced to stay in Paris, unable to return to Spain for political reasons. Over a four month period he painted “Still Life With Old Shoe”- something completely different from his earlier works. He painted a still life, working from direct observation with actual objects from real life. Yet, despite painting a still life(a traditional form of art) his work is  anything but traditional- the objects are abstract and difficult to categorize, with a landscape and subjects that seem animated, giving the painting a dreamlike, hallucinogenic quality.
Joan Miro-Still Life With Old Show
In a 1936 letter Miró wrote that he would “plunge in again and set out on the discovery of a profound and objective reality of things, a reality that is neither superficial nor Surrealistic, but a deep poetic reality, an extrapictorial reality, if you will, in spite of pictorial and realistic appearances.”

Miro’s later works after the 1930’s best show his personal style. These paintings are the ones that most attract me. They are difficult to describe- they use bold black strokes and some remind me of the art my five year old brother likes to produce. Yet Miro’s paintings have deep cultural and, often, political significance. During the course of the wars Miro’s art increasingly turned to abstraction, in his way of coping with personal struggles and the tragedy of war.
Joan Miro, Constellations Series


Adams, Tim. "Joan Miró: A Life in Paintings." The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 19 Mar. 2011. Web. 11 Oct. 2012. <>.

"Style of Joan Miro." Joan Miro Art. 11 Oct. 2012 <>

"Joan Miro Art." - Artwork of Joan Miró. 11 Oct. 2012 <>.

"Olga's Gallery." Joan Miró -. 11 Oct. 2012 <>.

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