Barcelona, 1893 – Palma de Mallorca, 1983
Joan Miró, considered one of the greatest Spanish artists of the 20th century, was, in addition to being a painter, sculptor, engraver and ceramist. Joan Miró was born in Barcelona where he enrolled in the School of Fine Arts, and later in the Galli Academy.
In 1919 he settled in Paris, although Mont-roig, a small town in the Baix Camp region, will continue to be the counterpoint to the intellectual turmoil that lives in the capital alongside the surrealist poets. Shows at first Fauve, cubist and expressionist influences, moving to a realistic painting with a certain naive air, such as his well-known painting "La Masía" from 1920. His work becomes more dreamlike, coinciding with his incorporation into the surrealist movement whose greatest source of inspiration resides in the subconscious. But finally it will be Dadaism that attracts him the most because of his great imagination, as well as his sense of humor and the absurd. Miró surely found his source of inspiration there in his work as a sculptor, transforming and giving life to the objects and forms of his environment.
Later, in the midst of World War II, Joan Miró left France and settled in Palma de Mallorca, a refuge and work space, where his friend Josep Lluís Sert will design the workshop he had always dreamed of.
Miró flees from academicism, in the constant search for a global and pure work, not attached to any specific movement. In numerous interviews and writings dating back to the 1930s, he expressed his desire to abandon conventional methods of painting, in his own words "kill, murder or rape" them, in order to favor a form of expression that was contemporary, rather than wanting to bend to their demands and their aesthetics not even with their commitments towards the surrealists. Miró's painting acquires an increasingly stripped-down character close to abstraction to obtain, in his words, “the maximum intensity with the minimum means”. This will lead him to create a unique and highly personal language, always showing great sensitivity and poetry, a style that places him as one of the most influential artists of the 20th century.
In 1975 the Miró Foundation in Barcelona was inaugurated and in December 1992 the building designed by Moneo of the foundation in Palma de Mallorca.
He received prestigious international awards such as the Guggenheim Prize, was awarded a Doctor Honoris Causa by Harvard and named a Knight of the French Legion of Honor. In addition, in 1980 he received from Juan Carlos I the Gold Medal of Fine Arts of Spain.
He died on December 25, 1983 in Palma de Mallorca at the age of 90.
- ¨La boulangère”, bronze sculpture cast with lost wax process, 1970.
The sculpture work of Miró supposed the culmination of his artistic trajectory in the years of his creative maturity. Although he had done surreal objects during the 30s, it was not until one decade later, during the Second World War, while he was living between Palma and Montroig, when he began to show interest in great forms and the liberty that they promised him. In his work notebooks of 1941 – 42 he wrote: “It is in sculpturing where I will create a real phantasmagorical world of living monsters; what I do when painting is more conventional.”
He also expressed the desire to build a new studio ”full” of sculptures which transmitted a tremendous feeling of entering into a new world ( ... ) to the contrary to the pictures on the wall or the images made on a flat surface, sculptures must seem living monsters, a world apart within the study.” (Joan Miró, Selected writings and interviews Boston, 1986)
The creation of sculptures of a great size was made as from 1956, the year when Miró made come true his dream of enjoying a large studio in Palma de Mallorca. He was not to produce anything else in bronze until 1966 – probably due to his dedication to the creative possibility of ceramics – the year when his works began to be monumental, and were carried out by artisans under his supervision.
Conceived in 1970, La Boulangère is a homage to a woman baker and pastry maker in Mallorca, and it is a perfect example of the playful approach of Miró to sculpture through the surrealistic technique of the “objets trouvés” (objects that have been found).
The head of the baker without doubt a squashed can of solvent – is crowned by a pretzel as an ingenious comb, and by a two-pronged fork, used in Mallorca to eat snails. The bulging and round stomach, constituted by a an ensaimada box, is full of empty tubes of paint, revealing a ferocious appetite. On her back we can appreciate some drawings which remind us of the famous “Femme et oiseaux” (Women and birds). All of this anchored on a tin of paint which at the same time is resting on a typical Roscón de Reyes (cake in the form of a ring) on which Miró left the imprints of his greedy fingers.
Miró expressed on many occasions the great pleasure that his sculpture work produced for him as he was able to introduce that third dimension which paintings lack.
In the last twenty years of his life, his sculptures acquired power and size, converting themselves for him into a creative adventure, into an important means of expression - as important as painting and drawing.
- Triptych “Le Maréchal des Logis”, “L’otarie Savante”, “Le Tambour Major”, etching and aquatint on Arches paper, 1978.
- Series “Passage de l’Égyptienne”, etching and aquatint on Japan paper, 1985.