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Joan Miró

Works

Biography

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Childhood and education


Joan Miró was born in Barcelona in 1893, the son of the goldsmith and watchmaker Miquel Miró i Adzerias from Cornudella de Montsant and his wife Dolors Ferrà di Oromí, the daughter of a cabinetmaker from Palma. His birthplace was at Passatge del Credit 4 in Barcelona’s historic centre, where his father ran a goldsmith’s and watchmaking business.


Plaque on Miró’s birthplace in Barcelona, Passatge del Crèdit 4


He began drawing as a child – the earliest surviving drawings date from 1901 – and met with disapproval from his petty-bourgeois father, who had no sympathy for this activity. After having to leave grammar school in 1907 due to poor grades, Miró began a commercial apprenticeship at his father’s request, but also took art lessons until 1910 at the art academy ‘La Llotja’ in Barcelona, where Pablo Picasso’s father José Ruiz Blasco Picasso had taught and where Pablo Picasso himself had been a student nine years earlier. His teachers there were Modest Urgell and Josep Pascó.


From 1910 to 1911, Miró initially worked as an accountant in the drugstore Dalmau Oliveras S.A. After a nervous breakdown and a bout of typhoid fever, he gave up his commercial career and moved to his family’s newly acquired farm in Mont-roig del Camp near Tarragona to recover. Resistance to artistic training faded and Miro was allowed to enrol at Francesc Galí’s private art school ‘Escola d’Art’, which he attended from 1912 to 1915. Galí considered his pupil to be highly gifted, as he explained to his father during one of his weekly visits.[4] Galí introduced his pupils to modern French art and the architecture of Antoni Gaudí, Barcelona’s famous modernist artist.


In 1912, he visited an exhibition of Cubist painting at the Dalmau Gallery in his hometown, where he was introduced to the works of Marcel Duchamp, Albert Gleizes, Juan Gris, Marie Laurencin, Fernand Léger and Jean Metzinger. From 1913 to 1918, Miró attended the free drawing academy of the ‘Cercle Artístic de Sant Lluc’. This called for a departure from modernism and a return to classicism, taking into account the Mediterranean heritage; avant-garde artists were only accepted to a limited extent


After the outbreak of the First World War, Miró had to do military service from 1915. Those who could afford it used to buy their way out of military service; however, his father only paid a relatively small amount, which was enough to shorten his son’s military service to a total of ten months spread over several years. Miró occasionally despaired of his work: ‘I didn’t have the artistic means to express myself and therefore felt miserable. Sometimes, desperate as I was, I banged my head against the wall,’ Michel Leiris later quoted him as saying.[6] In the same year, Miró set up his first studio together with E. C. Ricart at Calle Baja de San Pedro 51 in Barcelona. In 1916 he met the art dealer Josep Dalmau, who became his patron, and a year later Maurice Raynal and Francis Picabia, whose magazine 391, founded in 1917, familiarised Miró with Dadaism. In the same year, he began to take an interest in modern poetry. In the literary magazine Nord-Sud, published by Pierre Reverdy, he first saw the picture poems of Guillaume Apollinaire, who coined the term surrealism for the first time in 1917. Miró’s work in the following years was also strongly influenced by the Fauves and the French Cubists. In February 1918, Miró’s first solo exhibition took place at the Galerías Dalmau in Barcelona, which included 60 landscape paintings and still lifes. In the same year, together with Ricart, J. F. Ràfols, Francesc Domingo, Rafael Sala – later joined by Josep Llorens i Artigas – he founded the Courbet Group (Agrupació Courbet), named after Gustave Courbet, whose radicalism they admired. The name stood for the desire to be seen as progressive artists within Barcelona and to overcome the Catalan classicist art movement of Noucentisme. However, their joint exhibitions of lively, colourful works were not very successful.


In March 1919, Miró travelled to Paris for the first time for a few months, where he visited Pablo Picasso in his studio. The latter bought a self-portrait painted that year from his younger compatriot. He created his first poster for the magazine L’Instant, and many more were to follow. At the end of 1920, he moved into a studio at 45 rue Blomet in Paris; he soon became friends with his neighbour, André Masson. They lived in meagre circumstances, but unlike Masson, Miró dressed bourgeoisly, chose white spats for going out and wore a monocle, as if he had taken over his father’s company. The art metropolis attracted him, but he always remained attached to his Catalan homeland. Miró therefore lived alternately in Mont-roig del Camp, Spain, in the summer and in Paris in the winter, where he joined the poets Max Jacob, Pierre Reverdy and Tristan Tzara and took part in Dada activities.


In 1921, Josep Dalmau organised Miró’s first solo exhibition in Paris, which was shown at the ‘Galerie la Licorne’. As it was unsuccessful, his material difficulties could not be averted. Two years later he made the acquaintance of Henry Miller, whose book The Smile at the Foot of the Ladder he would later illustrate, and Ernest Hemingway, who, like Miller, was in Paris at the time; Hemingway borrowed money to buy Miró’s painting The Farm (1921/22) in 1925. [11] In 1923, he took part in the exhibition at the Salon d’Automne with some of his works.[7] Through André Masson, Miró met the Surrealists Louis Aragon, André Breton and Michel Leiris in 1924 and joined the Surrealist group as a member, but remained a silent outsider among them. In correspondence to Michel Leiris on 10 August 1924, he wrote that he was now breaking away from old pictorial conventions. There he proclaimed pure line, pure colour, with nuances in between, which he characterised as the charm and music of colour.[12] His second solo exhibition took place in Paris in 1925, organised by the ‘Galerie Pierre’. In the same year, Miró also participated in the gallery’s first Surrealist exhibition.[7] In 1926, Miró and Max Ernst worked on the set and costumes for Djagilev’s ballet Romeo and Juliet, music by Constant Lambert, which was performed by the Ballets Russes. This collaboration provoked a protest from the surrealist group. In the same year, his father died in Mont-roig.


In 1927, Miró moved into a studio in Les Fusains at 22 rue Tourlaque in Montmartre and had Hans Arp, Paul Éluard, Max Ernst and René Magritte, among others, as neighbours. In 1928, he met the sculptors Constantin Brâncuși, Alberto Giacometti[ and Alexander Calder; he had a lifelong friendship with the latter two, which is reflected in Miró’s and Calder’s works – in the 1940s, both artists created series entitled Constellations, with Calder using wood and metal and Miró using gouache. Miró visited the Netherlands that year and, inspired by the Dutch masters, began a series of paintings, the Intérieurs hollandais. In 1929, Salvador Dalí joined the Surrealist group in Paris at Joan Miró’s suggestion. In October 1929, Miró married Pilar Juncosa Iglesias (1904-1995), a native of Palma de Mallorca, in Palma. The couple took a flat in the rue François Mouton in Paris. In 1930, his daughter Maria Dolors was born in Barcelona. Due to the global economic crisis, Miró’s art dealer Pierre Loeb was no longer able to buy his paintings, so from 1932 he was signed by the art dealer Pierre Matisse in New York.




Spanish Civil War – Second World War


When the Spanish Civil War broke out in 1936, Miró left Mont-roig until 1940 and lived exclusively in Paris. In May 1936, Miró was represented alongside Pablo Picasso, Alberto Giacometti, Salvador Dalí, Meret Oppenheim, Yves Tanguy, Hans Arp and Max Ernst at the ‘Exposition surréaliste d’objets’, an exhibition conceived by André Breton and organised by Parisian art dealer Charles Ratton. Surrealist objects realised especially for this show were on display, which Ratton integrated ‘within his showcases in accordance with the surrealist idea of a collective, unconscious creativity together with ethnological material, works by mentally ill people, bizarre minerals, curious found objects and similar things’. One month later, Miró participated with 15 works in the exhibition ‘Fantastic Art, Dada, Surrealism’ at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, as well as in the ‘International Surrealist Exhibition’ organised by Roland Penrose from 11 June to 4 July 1936 at the New Burlington Galleries in London.




Miró exhibited his monumental painting Le faucheur (The Reaper or Catalan Peasant) for the Spanish pavilion at the 1937 World Exhibition in Paris alongside Picasso’s Guernica and Calder’s Mercury Fountain and designed a poster for the exhibition entitled Aidez l’Espagne. In 1938, he took part in the ‘Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme’ at the Galerie Beaux-Arts in Paris.




After the occupation of France by German troops during the Second World War in 1940, Joan Miró returned to his native Spain from his refuge in Varengeville-sur-Mer, where he had spent the summer months since 1938, and initially lived in Palma de Mallorca, and from 1942 in Barcelona in the house where he was born. In 1944, the year of his mother’s death, he began working in ceramics with his friend, the Catalan ceramist Josep Llorens i Artigas, whom he knew from Barcelona. Artigas, who also worked with Raoul Dufy and Albert Marquet, had introduced Miró to ceramics. He also created his first small-scale modelled figures, which were cast in bronze in 1950.




In 1947, Miró travelled to the United States for the first time to design a mural for the Terrace Plaza Hotel (from 1965 the Terrace Hilton Hotel) in Cincinnati. He worked on it for nine months in a studio in New York, during which time he met Clement Greenberg and Jackson Pollock. In the same year, he took part in the exhibition ‘Le Surréalisme en 1947: Exposition internationale du surréalisme’ at the Galerie Maeght, Paris, which was organised by André Breton and Marcel Duchamp. Miró returned to Paris in 1948, where an exhibition of his ceramic sculptures was opened at the Galerie Maeght. The exhibition catalogue included texts by Tristan Tzara, his friend, the milliner and patron Joan Prats i Vallès, and Paul Éluard, among others. In 1950, he engraved his first xylographs in Barcelona[20].




In 1956, Miró moved his permanent residence to Cala Major, an administrative district of Palma. The Son Abrines residence was designed and built by Miró’s brother-in-law, the architect Enrique Juncosa Iglesias (1902-1975). Together with Artigas, he had previously created two large-scale wall reliefs (Moon Wall and Sun Wall) for the UNESCO building in Paris, for which both artists were honoured with the International Guggenheim Award in 1958. With an endowment of 10,000 US dollars, Miró acquired the neighbouring country house Son Boter, which was originally planned as a sculpture workshop, but in the course of time became his second studio house.




Miró commissioned the architect Josep Lluís Sert, a friend of the artist, to build a new workshop on the site in 1956. The director of the Harvard University Graduate School of Design was regarded as a spokesman for the European avant-garde of architecture. Sert created a poetic and functional space in which Miró could bring his artistic process to a climax. Miró had already expressed the idea of a large workshop in 1938 in the autobiographical text ‘I dream of a large studio’ in the magazine Le XXe Siècle:




‘[…] my dream, if I can ever really settle down somewhere, is to have a large workshop, not so much for the lighting, […] but to have space, for many canvases, because the more I work, the more I feel like working.’




In the following years, he mainly worked on sculptures. In 1959, he made his second visit to the United States for a major Miró retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. In 1960, he worked with Artigas on a mural for Harvard University and travelled to the United States for a third time in 1961. He was involved in the exhibitions Alexander Calder – Miró and The Art of Assemblage, both in New York. In the same year, a comprehensive biography of Jacques Dupin was published in Paris, on which Dupin and Miró had been working since 1957.




In 1964, the Fondation Maeght was opened in Saint-Paul-de-Vence. The building was again designed by Sert; numerous ceramic sculptures, which were created in collaboration with Artigas and his son Joan Gardy Artigas, and a labyrinth by Miró, completed in 1968, are part of the exhibition. In 1968, his 75th birthday was celebrated with a whole series of tributes, in particular with an exhibition by the Fondation Maeght.




‘Miró otro’


In 1969, a group of young Spanish architects organised an exhibition called Miró otro in their association house in Barcelona. They were protesting against Franco’s authorities, who wanted to make use of the painter, but also against designers and poster painters who were beginning to plunder and vulgarise Miró’s repertoire. Miró painted aggressive pictures on the windows the night before the opening to make it clear that he was not for sale, and washed them off again three days later. Louis Aragon dedicated an issue of the literary magazine Les Lettres françaises to the exhibition of the ‘other Miró’.




In 1970, he created two murals for public spaces, the first for the World Expo in Osaka, the second, made of ceramic, for the airport in Barcelona. A year later, Miró initiated the establishment of a foundation whose buildings in Barcelona were also designed by Sert. It was opened in 1975 under the name Fundació Joan Miró.




Last years


Concerned that his creative environment might be forgotten or disappear completely due to the lively building activity that began in 1956 in the wake of the growing influx of tourists to Mallorca, Miró donated part of his estate to Palma City Council. Based on this donation, the second foundation, the Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró a Mallorca, was established in 1981. It is based in Cala Major, where Miró lived and worked. Miró’s motives for the second foundation can be seen in the following quote:




‘[…] I do not wish that one day any of these terrible skyscrapers that surround me on all sides be built on this site […] The idea that one day a sledgehammer could tear down the walls of Son Boter and the paintings there be lost forever haunts me day and night […]’


The artist’s 90th birthday on 20 April 1983 was celebrated worldwide with a series of exhibitions, publications and tributes. Barcelona City Council, for example, dedicated a week of honour to Miró, the Semana de homenaje à Joan Miró, during which the monumental sculpture Woman and Bird was officially unveiled in Plaça de l’Escorxador. The work was commissioned by the city council in 1981.


Joan Miró died in Palma de Mallorca on 25 December of the same year and was buried in the family grave in the Montjuïc cemetery in Barcelona on 29 December.[26] His only daughter, Maria Dolors Miró Juncosa, Honorary President of the Miró Foundations in Barcelona and Palma, died at the end of December 2004 at the age of 74.


Work


Miró created a large number of works. During his long artistic career, he created around 2000 oil paintings, 500 sculptures, 400 ceramics and 5000 collages and drawings. His graphic oeuvre comprises around 3,500 works, including lithographs and etchings, most of which were printed in small editions.


Paintings, graphics, collages


‘How did I come up with all the ideas for my paintings? Well, I would come back to my studio in rue Blomet late at night and go to bed, sometimes without having had dinner. I saw things, I wrote them down in my notebook. I saw apparitions on the ceiling […]’


Early work


Between 1912 and 1915, when Miró was enrolled at Francesc Galí’s private art school ‘Escola d’Art’, he spent most of his time painting in Mont-roig del Camp. He created landscapes in the style of Fauvism, but ‘in very sombre, earthy colours, which he stripped of the heaviness of the material and refreshed in the sense of poetic realism.’ He used folk and Catalan art as sources for his paintings and also explored contemporary art. His still life Wall Clock and Lantern, for example, shows the influence of Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh and Henri Matisse. The still life from 1917, Nord-Sud, refers to folk art, literature and the French avant-garde with its pictorial content, as it shows a volume of Goethe and a folded issue of Nord-Sud, a magazine for Dada and Surrealism, alongside a ceramic, a birdcage and a flower. The painting from 1920, The Table (Still Life with Rabbit), depicts a cubistically painted table contrasted with naturalistic animals such as the rabbit, a cockerel and a fish, as well as peppers, onions and vine leaves. The painting La Masía (1921/22), which Ernest Hemingway bought for 5,000 francs in Paris in 1925, is considered a key work by Miró.[30] It shows his parents’ farm in Mont-roig del Camp, which was a source of energy for the artist. This painting combines a realistic depiction with abstract motifs. The painting is now in the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C.


Transition to Surrealism


The transition to Surrealism took place relatively abruptly around 1924, although Miró developed his own unmistakable pictorial language. Just as he saw Cubism as a learning stage, he felt the same about Surrealism, especially as he categorically rejected both art movements as too ideological and ‘both dogmas as too artistically restrictive.’[29] In the painting Ploughed Earth (1923/24), Miró found a new pictorial language that translated the observation of nature into a system of colours and signs, but it was not yet fully integrated into an independent world of signs. In Catalan Landscape (The Hunter) from the same period, the pictorial content is reduced to signs and lines; the hunter can only be recognised by a realistically painted pipe.[32] Miró later often lamented that he had lost his pictorial language during the lean times in Paris due to hallucinations caused by hunger – he spent his money on painting utensils and trips to his home country instead – and staring at the cracks in the concrete. Like Masson and the early Tanguy, Miró used the Écriture automatique that emerged from the Surrealist group around Breton to create a painting developed from writing and drawing, although he never relinquished control over the creative process.


In 1924 and 1925, Miró created a series of ‘picture-poems’, as he called them, including Stars in the Sex of Snails from 1925. His painting Carnival of the Harlequin (1924/25) was created during the same period as a result of the surrealist influence on the unconscious. From the spring of 1925 to the summer of 1927, Miró worked on his so-called ‘dream paintings’. This group of paintings is characterised by a restrained, almost monochrome colour scheme and an undefined, floating spatial situation, such as in the painting Dancer II from 1925.[36] Despite his romantic fantasy, Miró was a meticulous planner. His paintings existed in preliminary form in his imagination and in studies on paper long before they were realised on canvas. Bathers from 1925 is another example of a monochrome painting from this period. White and yellow lines have become movement, guiding the viewer through the picture against a background designed as a seascape. The painting Photo – ceci est la couleur de mes rêves, depicts lines of writing and a blue stain united on an ochre-coloured background.[37] The Dutch Interiors I to III followed a trip to the Netherlands in 1928 and were inspired by the old Dutch masters. For example, Jan Steen’s Cat Dance Lesson (1626-1629) inspired Miró to create Dutch Interiors II, in which the artist removed signs and signatures from Steen’s painting and ‘translated’ them into his work.[38] The painting Queen Louise of Prussia from 1929 also characterises the surrealist influence. After a Spanish advertisement for the diesel engine of the German company Junkers, which he kept and labelled ‘Pour la Reine’, he designed the painting by reducing the drawing of the engine until it took the form of a constricted female figure.[39] From 1929, Miró began experimenting with lithography, with the first cuts appearing from 1933.


Influence of Hans Arp and Paul Klee


Like Paul Klee, Joan Miró was fascinated by the number as a formal language and symbol. From the mid-1920s, the number appeared in his works, most notably in the painting 48 from 1927. Miró was obsessed with this number, as he had seen it as a house number on a building on the opposite side of the street every time he left his flat at 45 rue Blomet in Paris. In the painting L’Addition (The Calculation) from 1925, according to Hubertus Gaßner, the numbers represent ‘the systematic ciphering of a literary source’[40]. The sequence of numbers appearing at the top right in front of the blurred colour space refers to the novel Le Surmâle (The Overman) by Alfred Jarry, published in 1902. Miró’s calculation refers to the ‘counting of the acts of love of the “Übermann”, who has set out to break the record for continuous sexual intercourse of more than seventy orgasms in an experiment.’[40] Klee and Miró never met in person, but Miró had seen and learnt to appreciate Klee’s paintings in an exhibition at the Galerie Pierre in Paris in 1925. Both Klee and Miró have often been criticised as ‘infantile.’[41] A neighbour from 1927 onwards was Hans Arp, whose work with curved organic forms also influenced Miró. One example is Landscape (The Hare) from the same year. These forms, as outlines or full colour fields, accompanied Miró throughout the rest of his artistic career[42].


Collages


In 1924 and from 1928 to 1929, during a brief phase in which Miró wanted to give up painting completely, the artist created a number of collaged works, one of which is Papier collée from 1929. Of this collage, created from tar paper, oil paper and wallpaper remnants, there are only two other similar works in Miró’s oeuvre that were created with the same materials and have roughly the same format: a portrait of Georges Auric, which is now on display at the Kunsthaus Zürich, and a work that was long in the possession of the surrealist poet Georges Hugnet (1906-1974). [43][44] From 1931 onwards, Miró further modified the collages and, alongside Willi Baumeister, founded the so-called material painting ‘by using sand, plaster and mortar to give their paintings a relief-like, roughened, sculptural effect’[45].




‘Wild pictures’


Miró used this term to summarise what he himself called his paintings from 1934 onwards. The reason for this was the uncertain political situation in Spain and the rise of fascism. In a series of 15 pastels on velour paper, he depicted painfully distorted, bewildered, beastly individuals, mainly women. In 1935, he created the material painting Strick und Personen I, which continues both the collages and the Wilde Bilder. The real coiled rope applied to the painting is a symbol of violence. Man Ray wrote in his autobiography that the use of the rope had to do with a threatened hanging of Miró in Max Ernst’s studio, when Miró persistently remained silent despite being asked to participate in a discussion. In contrast, the painting Swallow/Love, completed at the beginning of 1934, in which figures seemingly in free fall and the word elements ‘Hirondelle’ and ‘Amour’ are combined with intertwined lines, evokes a feeling of openness and letting go.[46] In October 1935, he painted Man and Woman in front of a Pile of Dung, a painting with a sombre atmosphere; in front of a statuesque pile of dung stands an alienated painted couple with extremely emphasised genitals.




Works from the time of the Civil War – ‘Barcelona Series’


Immediately before and at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), which continued to influence the artist’s work, Joan Miró created the series Pintures damunt masonita (Paintings on Masonite) between July and October 1936, which comprised 27 paintings and still belonged to the ‘wild phase’. A return to realism followed in 1937 with Still Life with an Old Shoe; everyday motifs such as a shoe, bread and an apple pierced by a fork that looks like a weapon seem like an apocalyptic vision. The monumental painting Le faucheur (The Reaper), now lost, and the poster Aidez l’Espagne (Help Spain), both with revolutionary motifs against the fascist putschists General Francisco Franco, were created for the 1937 World Exhibition in Paris.[47] The screen print was sold for one franc, with the proceeds going to the Republican government in Madrid. This was followed by work on the Barcelona series, 50 lithographs in black, created in an aggressive manner from the years 1939-1945, published by Joan Prats, a long-time friend of Miró’s and patron of the arts in the Barcelona circle.




‘Constellations’


Between 1940 and 1942, Joan Miró created the 23-sheet series Constellations, gouaches in which larger figures, often depicting women and birds, are embedded in a dense fabric of circular discs and linear signs.[48] With its novel all-over structure, repetitive elements and the use of automatic drawing, the series had a great influence on the development of American art in the New York School. The results later served as a source of inspiration for Miró.[49] With regard to the constellations, however, there were also accusations that Miró had created ‘harmlessness’ and a ‘stereotype of innocence’ with this series during a difficult time. Henri Matisse – the painters knew and respected each other – also had to endure similar accusations such as those of being a ‘decorator’ and ‘organiser of coloured surfaces’. Like Matisse, Miró set the colour free on the surface in the constellations and used black as a colour, but unlike Matisse, he wanted to set the surface in motion with a flurry of figures and signs. Matisse’s works were easier to identify[50].




Monochrome paintings


From 1955 to 1959, Miró devoted himself entirely to ceramics, only taking up painting again in 1960. He created series on a white background as well as the triptych Bleu I, II, III from 1961, which is almost completely monochrome blue and is somewhat reminiscent of Yves Klein’s paintings. [21] After applying the blue paint, he interrupted the colour space in a controlled manner with minimalist signs, lines, dots and brushstrokes, applying the colours with the ‘deliberateness of a Japanese archer’s gesture’ (Miró).[51] These paintings are reminiscent of Miró’s works from around 1925, when he created monochrome paintings, such as Danseuse II (Dancer II), with few empathetic accents. ‘For me, it is important to achieve maximum intensity with minimum effort. That is why the emptiness in my paintings is becoming increasingly important,’ was his statement on these works. 52]




‘Lettres et Chiffres’ – late work


At the end of the 1960s, Miró painted a whole series of large-format panels under the title Lettres et Chiffres attirés par une étincelle (Letters and Numbers Attracted by a Spark). Similar to L’Addition, he placed isolated, minimalist, repetitive lettristic and numerical signs – which testify to Miró’s interest in concrete poetry and serial music – on a painterly, marbled colour space, in contrast to earlier works, very few ciphers, such as the T or 9, which ‘engrave around the different-coloured spot, the spark of the title, as if in the cosmos.’[40]




A five-part series, the Toiles brûlées (Burnt Canvases) from 1973, expressed Miró’s anger against the commercialisation of art. He partially destroyed the canvas, which was covered in coloured powder, by working on it with a gas burner and turned the painting to the right and left during the fire before extinguishing it. [53] May 1968 was painted in the same year; with its traces of burst paint bags, the imprints of Miró’s hands and the intense colours, it looks like an obituary to the Paris student riots of 1968. Miró also created the painting Woman with Three Hair and Birds, which resumed his painting style from the 1925s to 1930s. The late work is characterised by its colour scheme of a few pure colours with a strong use of black.[54] In 1979, a series of 18 colour lithographs was printed with the title Hommage a Gaudí. In the last years of his life, he also devoted himself to the old Catalan art of artistic tapestry work and designed stage sets[21].




Book illustrations


Among the numerous artist’s books that Miró has created since the 1930s, one example is the illustrated poem by Paul Éluard, published in 1958. Entitled A toute épreuve, it was published by Gérald Cramer, Geneva, and contains 80 mostly coloured woodcuts by Miró. It is considered his most beautifully illustrated book.[55] The print run was 80 copies. Paul Éluard’s poem was first published in 1930 in the Édition Surréalistes in Paris.




Objets trouvés, sculptures, ceramics, tapestries


‘One merges into the other. Everything forms a unity. There is no domain that is different from others. Everything is interlinked.’






Objets trouvés – sculptures




Dona i Ocell (Woman and Bird), 1982, ceramic tiles, Barcelona


From 1928, he created his first larger and smaller surrealist sculptures and objects, so-called ‘Peinture-objets’ and the ‘Sculpture-objet’ from 1931, consisting of a block of wood and partially painted found objects attached to it, such as a lump of cork, a scallop shell and an iron ring. From 1931 onwards, Miró, like the surrealist artists Max Ernst, Salvador Dalí, René Magritte and Yves Tanguy, concentrated on the found object, the objet trouvé. The 180 cm high object-like assemblage entitled Personnage[57] from 1931 (destroyed), a large black umbrella crowning a piece of furniture with a large rod penis, attracted considerable attention at the exhibition in the Salon des Indépendants, with the public at the time praising the ‘blatant erotic allusion’, as they did with the artist’s later three-dimensional works.




From 1966 onwards, Miró created larger sculptures in bronze, whereby he stuck to the forms he had invented 20 years earlier. The artist’s first sculpture, Oiseau solaire (Sunbird), dates from this year. A year later, he created sculptures that were cast in bronze from found objects and painted. Some works, such as Insect Woman (1969), are reminiscent of Alberto Giacometti’s sculptures with their rough surface.[59] Miró created concrete sculptures for the Esplanade de la Défense in Paris in 1978 and from 1979 to 1980 he worked on a figurative model for a fifteen-metre-high, coloured sculpture in Central Park in New York.[17] Further sculptures in public spaces followed. The monumental sculpture Miró’s Chicago, originally called The Sun, the Moon and a Star, is around twelve metres high and is made of steel, wire, bronze, concrete and ceramic tiles. The work, which stands not far from the 1967 sculpture Chicago Picasso in Chicago, was unveiled on 21 April 1981. Further monumental sculptures followed in 1982, Dona i Ocell (Woman and Bird) in Barcelona and Personnage et oiseaux (Figure and Birds) in Boston.

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