Painter and printmaker (1893 - 1983)
Spanish painter, ceramicist, sculptor and graphic artist, Joan Miró was born in 1893 in Barcelona. After overcoming considerable opposition from his father, a goldsmith by trade, Miró studied at Francesco Gali’s School of Art in Barcelona from 1912 onwards. His early works were landscapes and portraits in which elements of folk art are combined with expressive fauvist gestures.
In 1919 he moved to Paris and the early influences of van Gogh and the Fauves were succeeded by Picasso and Cubism. By 1923 Miró was a prominent member of the Surrealists and signed their manifesto in 1924. He was part of the first Surrealist exhibition which was staged in the Galerie Pierre in 1926. Around this time Miró began producing his linear, dreamlike compositions. When the Civil War broke out, Miró left Spain and began to paint the frightful visions that fill his “wild” pictures.
Between 1940 and 1941 Miró produced his “Constellations”- a series of luminous gouaches on paper. These works depict man and nature, the earth and the cosmos. From 1940 to 1948 Miró left France for Spain to escape the Second World War. During this time he produced his first ceramic pieces working in collaboration with the Spanish potter Llorens Artigas. Between 1954 and 1959 he devoted himself almost exclusively to this medium. While working on a commission for the UNESCO Building in Paris and for Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, he developed an entirely new style of ceramic wall design.
From the late 1920s Miró had begun producing a wide range of graphic works and in 1954 he was awarded the Grand Prix for graphic art at the Biennale in Venice. A prolific printmaker, Miró worked in etchings and lithographs. Like Picasso and Chagall, his works were also published in large print editions targeted at a larger audience.An artist of great wit and originality, Miró constantly explored forms and techniques in his graphic work. He used carborundum and resin painted directly onto the plate to build up a thick relief form on the metal. When printed, this creates a high impasto effect which adds depth and texture to the print. The rich blacks act as a foil to the bright colors which become even stronger when placed next to them.