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Joan Miró Biography

Born in Barcelona in 1893, Joan Miró was the son of a goldsmith and a jewelry maker who wanted him to become a businessman. He took  art classes at the Barcelona School of Fine Arts and the Academia Gali. But in spite of his education, he practiced accounting for two years to appease his parents’ ambitions, only to suffer from a nervous breakdown as a result. Initially skeptical, his parents finally accepted their son’s decision to be an artist.
By 1919, he made his first trip to Paris, a giant leap for his career where he eventually met Picasso, Andre Breton, Max Ernst and Andre Masson. It is also where he held his first serious exhibition. Although he remained an outsider, Miró’s work became heavy with symbols reflecting the influence of his new friends of the surrealist movement.

The 1930’s was a crucial decade for Miró’s development as an artist and as a Catalan. He produced his first lithograph in 1930, while his reputation as a painter spread internationally. The Spanish Civil War also broke out in July of 1936, coinciding with his series Les Pientures Savauges, which included political commentary on his native country. The internal conflict between two identities as a “Parisien cosmopolitan” and “bourgeois Catalan” had also becom obvious  to him and beckoned personal resolution.
During the 1940s, Miró returned to Spain and began experimenting with different media such as ceramics, tiles, and large-scale murals. The Constellation Series made its debut in 1940 at Palma de Majorca and Montroig. In 1947, he made his first trip to the United States where his paintings made their American debut. Between 1948 and 1950, he produced 72 color lithographs. With two exhibitions in 1951 and 1959 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and the production of his first color woodcuts in 1950, Miró blazed through the 1950s creating an extensive body of work.

In 1976, he built a villa in Palma de Majorca designed by avant-garde architect Josep Lluis Sert. Since 1992, it has displayed much of Miró’s work and provided the home for the Fundacio Joan Miró. He died at the age of 90 in 1983. He was a master painter who helped radically transform the landscape of modern art during the dynamic 20th century.