the art of ballOOn-painting

by uwe kurz

Joan Miró (1893-1983)


Joan MiróJoan Miró was born on the 20th of April 1893 in Barcelona as a son of the goldsmith Miquel Miró i Adzaries and his wife Dolors Ferrà . His father, watchmaker and goldsmith, originated from Cornudella, his mother Dolors Ferrà i Oromi from Palma Mallorca.
In 1900 Miró visits a primary school in the Carrer Regomir Barcelona. He  tries to escape from the school routine and finds interest in drawing and painting.
His first drawings, created in 1901 can be seen in the Funació Joan Miró in Barcelona. In 1906 begins Miró with his first character books, which develop during a visit at his grandparents in Cornudella and on Mallorca. He paints in a naturalistic manner.
    In 1907 visits Miró the vocational school in Barcelona. At the same time he enters  the art school Llotja. In 1910 he begins a training in a drugstore. In the same year he shows his works (old and new portraits and drawings) for the first time in an exhibition in Barcelona.
    Miró suffers and becomes  sick, his job in the drugstore does not have any relation to his actual interest in painting. Morally depressed and sick from thyphus, he retires from the world on the estate of his grandparents. Here he comes to the decision to dedicate himself completely to painting.
    From 1912 to 1915 he visits the Francesc Galix´s art school and the Cercle Artistic de Saint Lluc. He begins a deep friendship with Joan Prats. In 1918 another exhibition take place in the gallery Dalmau in Barcelona.
    In 1920 Miró goes to Paris for the first time. There he visits also Picasso in his studio. His first single exhibition is seen in 1921 in Paris in the gallery Licorne. At this time Miró meets important personalities, for example André Masson and Henry Kahnweiler, Henry Miller and Ernest Hemmingway. From this time Miró spends each year´s winter season in Paris. In 1923 Miró works continuously on landscapes, not longer in a nature oriented style, he rather makes experiences of metamorphosis with fantastic characters and items.
    Writers and artists of the avant-garde meet in 1924 in Massons studio. Miró formes friendships with Michel Leiris, Benjamin Péret and Roland Tual. In 1925 he meets the surrealists around Max Ernst and Man Ray and issues in a common exhibition. André Breton writes the catalog text for this exhibition.
    In 1927 Miró gets during its Paris stays internationally reputation. Contacts to important artists develop, e.g. Kandinsky, Matisse and others. Numerous journeys abroad, connected with exhibitions in different countries, follow. In 1928 he produces the first object collage with the title »Spanish dancer«. He visits Belgium and the Netherlands and creates the painting »Dutch Interior« in Mont roig.
    In 1929 he develops the well-known series »Imaginary Portraits«. He marries Pilar Juncosa in Palma Mallorca. In 1930 he paints some picture series in different styles. At this time he begins to try out other materials and media. In Mont roig he creates his first three-dimensional sculpture. In Mont roig he begins in 1931 a set of artworks on ingrespaper and object pictures.
    From 1932 he spends again more time in Barcelona, living and working in the house of his family. In 1934 Miró is under an exclusive contract for the USA with the galerist Pierre Matisse. In 1936 he travels with his newest work shown in New York to Paris. After the outbreak of the Spanish civil war he decides to stay in Paris. His wife and daughter follow a short time later. The family remains in France until 1940.

    In 1937 Miró visits occasionally the Academie de la Grande Chaumiere, where he creates large sized drawings. He produces the wall painting »The Reaper« (rebellious catalan farmer) for the Spanish pavilion of the world exhibition in Paris, sketched by Josep Lluis Sert and Luis Lacasa.
    In 1939 Miró rents for himself and his family a house in Varengeville sur Mer in the normandy. In January 1940 he developes a series of gouaches, which are later known as »asterisk constellations«. In the same year he moves from France to Mallorca.
In 1941 a first retrospective is shown in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. 1942 - Miró paints 43 almost exclusively works on paper. He turns back to Barcelona. He creates his first ceramic works in 1944, he uses material of Llorens Artigas, he begins a persisting phase of co-operation until 1947.
    In 1946 he develops his first bronce sculpture.
He travels to the USA in 1947, where he produces a wall painting for the Plaza hotel in Cincinnati. During his stay he experiments with different erasure techniques. Participation in the exhibition »Le Surrealisme en 1947: Exposition internationale du surrealisme« in the gallery Maeght in Paris, organized by André Breton and Marcel Duchamp. In the same gallery his first single exhibition takes place in 1948. Aimé Maeght is his new representative in France.
    In 1949-50 Miró paints in two different directions: beside the figurative and reflective style he develops more and more his own gestic and impulsive language. Miró creates, engaged by Walter Gropius, a large wall painting for the Harvard university. 1954 he participates in the biennale of art in Venice and becomes the winner.
    He constantly resides in Palma in a studio planned by his friend Josep Lluis Sert.
In 1957 his first single exhibition in Germany takes place in the Kaiser Willhelm Museum in Krefeld.
In 1958 he presents two wall paintings for the UNESCO building in Paris and Miró is honoured with the Guggenheim Award. He participates in the Documenta 11 in Kassel/Germany in 1959. In 1961 an exhibition  takes place in the Museum of Modern Arts in New York.
    Miró creates monumental sculptures for the Fondacion Maeght, Saint Paul de Vence, France in 1963.
In 1964 opening of the Fondation Maeght in Saint Paul de Vence, designed by Lluis Sert, with a labyrinth with sculptures of Miró and Artigas. Miró produces his first large plastics in bronce »sun bird and moon bird« in 1966. In 1968 he travels for the last time to the USA and he is made honorary doctor of the Harvard university.
    A large retrospective takes place in 1969 in the »Haus der Kunst« in Munich. Miró sketches wall ceramic(s) and wall paintings for »the pavilion of smile« at the world exhibition in Osaka, Japan In 1970. In co-operation with Artigas he develops the monumental ceramic(s) wall painting at the airport of Barcelona.
    In 1972 foundation of the Fundació Joan Miró, center for contemporary art, designed by Josep Lluis Sert. Opening of the Fundació Joan Miró in 1976 with a large part of the collection of Joan Miró.
    In 1978 a retrospective is shown in the Museo Espanol de Arte Contemporáneo in Madrid, organized of the Fundació Joan Miró. Premiere of Mori ei Merma in the opera house Liceu in Barcelona with dolls, masks and stage paintings of Miró. Exposure of monumental plastic »playing pair with almond blossom« in La Défense, Paris. In 1980 Miró receives from the hand of king Juan Carlos the Spanish Medalla d'Or of fine arts.
    In 1982 installation of the monumental sculpture »woman and bird« in the Parc de Joan Miró in Barcelona. The whole world of art celebrates in 1983 Mirós ninetieth birthday with numerous exhibitions e.g.: »Joan Miró: A Ninetieth Birthday of tributes« in the Museum of Modern Art in New York and »Joan Miró: anys 20. Mutació de la realitat« in the Fundació Joan Miró/ Barcelona.
    Miró dies on the 25th of December 1983 in Palma de Mallorca. He is buried at the cemetery Montjuic in Barcelona.


Miro of universe, arts center Augsburg
translated by Uwe Kurz


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