A Quick Guide to Joan Miro

Joan Miro most famous piece

Joan Miro Barcelona

If you’ve been to Spain, you’ve probably heard of Joan Miro. If not, this article will give you a quick overview of who he is.

Joan was a Spanish painter, sculpture and ceramicist born in Barcelona. Joan Miro relocated to his adoptive city of Palama in 1981. He had a long creative life from April 20th 1893-December 25th 1983. His work is interpreted as surrealism with a personal twist, leaning towards fauvism and expressionism. If you have a unique taste in artwork, consider checking out one of his exhibits.

If you’re visiting Barcelona it is highly recommended you check out the Fundacio Joan Miró Museum which is the home to the most important pieces by Joan Miró, there are also other varying exhibitions of contemporary painters and sculptors in the Miro museum of Barcelona.

His artwork is not only found in his paintings but around Barcelona itself. You can see the funky influence his artwork had on different architecture throughout the city.

Joan Miro Artwork in Barcelona

The History of Joan Miro

Joan Miro is remembered for his interest in the conscious and subconscious mind. His style is quite unique, that is why his work is often difficult to classify.
In numerous interviews from the 1930’s onward he expressed contempt and conservational painting methods, this was a way of supporting the bourgeois society (urban character and style).

His work was often referred to as an assassination of painting. Miro had a tendency to upset the visual elements of establishing paintings. This is what made his work stand out and why people come from all around the world to visit his gallery.

He began drawing classes at the young age of 7 at a private school, his father dreaded his enrollment at the fine arts academy La Llotja Academy in 1907, he studied at the Cercle Artistic de Sant Lluc and had his first solo show in 1918 where unfortunately, his work was shamed and defaced. People often fear what they don’t understand, so thank goodness he pushed through these moments of doubt and produced some of the amazing works of art we know and love today.

Picture of Joan Miro

Joan Miros work & Education

In 1920 Joan moved to Paris, but spent his summers in Catalonia, Spain. He went to business school and art school. When he was a teenager he accepted his first job as a sales clerk. He abandoned the business world completely after a nervous breakdown, then he then focused solely on his art.

As far as inspiration goes,his early artwork was inspired by Vincent van Gogh and Paul Cezanne.This really shows in his artwork. Scholars referred to this period of artwork as his” Catalan Fauvist Period”.In 1918 Miro had his first solo exhibition. Unfortunately, the exhibition didn’t go as planned. Critics and the public spoke poorly about his artwork and even damaged it. He didn’t sell a single painting at this exhibition.. After his solo exhibition he finished a few paintings in his parents summer home. These paintings showed a more individual style.

Ernest Hemmingway purchased one of his paintings, he described it as “a way to visit Spain when you cannot physically go there.”
He had his first Perisian exhibition at Galerie la Licorne in 1921, this project expressed a symbolic language that dominated the artworld for the next decade.

Miro joined a “surrealist group” in 1924, his contradictions mixed with the poetic symbolic nature mixed well with this group. He went away from traditional painting and framing and experimented with a mosaic style.The paintings that came out of this period were mentioned to be some of his “dream paintings”. As unique as his work was, he did still practise the technical methods in his sketches.

Artwork by Joan Miro

Joan Miro’s life & mental health

He Married Pilar Juncosa October 12th 1929. His wife gave birth to their daughter Maria Dolores Miro on July 17th 1930. Once the Spanish Civil War began he was unable to return home. In this time frame he created tapestries, sculptures, and even a monograph in 1940.

He experienced multiple episodes of depression in his lifetime. There is a clear connection between his mental health and his paintings. Creativity and mental illness have been very well studied, creative people have a higher chance of a manic episode that influences their art. This proves to be true in Joan Miros case. .It is mentioned that painting brought him calmness and made his thoughts “less dark”. He mentioned without painting he became very “depressed, gloomy and didn’t know what to do with (himself)”.

His mental state was visible in his painting “Carnival of the Harlequin” He tried to create the chaos that was in his mind. In this painting was a ladder that is said to symbolise “escaping” his thoughts.

He died of heart failure in the city of Palma in 1981. You can still find his artwork all around the world. Today his paintings sell for $250,000-$26 million USD.

Photograph of Joan Miro

Where did Joan Miro Live in Barcelona?

Joan Miro lived at 4 Passatge del Crèdit located right in the heart of Barcelona in the Gothic Quater there is a plaque outside this building and as it is right in the center of Barcelona it is worth a walk past!

Joan Miro plaque outside his house in Baercelona

Where did Joan Miro Eat & Drink?

Joan Miro was born in the El Gothic area of Barcelona a stones throw away from Las Ramblas, he had family in and around the Barrio “neighbourhood” and returned to visit throughout his life.

He would of frequented many establishments in that area when he returned to Barcelona, so as you sit on one of the many terraces sipping on your afternoon Vermouth it is very likely Joan Miro was doing the same in that very place.

The area around Joan Miro's home in Barcelona

Where can I see Joan Miro artwork in Barcelona?

A large body of his work can be seen at Fundacio Joan Miró Museum its around 12€ per entrance ticket and there website can be found here https://www.fmirobcn.org/en/

Opening times are Monday – Sunday 10AM – 6PM

Other examples of his work can be seen for free around the city and include:

  • Floor Mosaic found on a segment of La Rambla located just outside the Boquería market.
  • Mural de l’Aeroport is an impressive  mural which covers the facade of the Airport at Terminal 2.
  • Parc Joan Miró – is the emplacement Miró chose for his Dona i Ocell (Woman and Bird) statue.

Thanks for reading our quick guide to Joan Miro if you found it interesting please have a look around the rest of our blog! If you have any ideas for blog posts please get in touch!

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