Born in Barcelona, Spain, in 1893, Joan Miro was the son of a goldsmith and a jewelry maker. Although he showed an early aptitude and passion for art, his parents discouraged him from pursuing it as a career. At the age of 14, Miro attended both business school and La Lonja’s School of Fine Arts in Barcelona. After three years of study, Miro followed his parents’ wishes and took a job as an accountant. He worked for nearly two years before suffering a nervous breakdown. After his recovery, he abandoned his business career and committed himself to his art studies, enrolling at Francesco Gali’s Escola d’Art in Barcelona.
Miro’s early work was heavily influenced by Fauvism and Cubism, as well as the folkloric Catalan art of his heritage. He held his first solo exhibition in 1918 at Jose Dalmau’s gallery in Barcelona. In 1920, Miro made his first trip to Paris, where he was introduced to Pablo Picasso, Andre Breton, and other emerging artists of the time. Joan Miro aligned himself with the Surrealist movement, led by Breton, but (even though his future work was influenced by the tenets of Surrealism) never fully accepted the movement’s creed and always remained on its periphery. Despite this, Breton was later quoted describing Miro as “the most Surrealist of us all.”
Miro ultimately developed his own unique style, rooted in memory, imaginative fantasy, and the irrational. Miro’s works are distinguished by the use of brilliant pure colors against flat neutral backgrounds. Abstract amoebic shapes are juxtaposed against sharp lines, creating visions that are often whimsical and ethereal. In contrast to his art, Miro’s personality was orderly, detail-oriented, and meticulous. Unlike many of his more bohemian contemporaries, he was known for attending gallery exhibition in dark business suits. Throughout his career, Miro experimented with many media, including etchings, lithographs, ceramics, sculpture, and tapestries. In 1956, Miro settled in a villa in Palma de Majorca, Spain, which was later transformed into the Miro Museum. Joan Miro died December 25, 1983.