Jean Miro

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Jean Miro was born in Barcelona in 1893.

Multiple influences

Although it is generally accepted that Miro was part of the surrealist movement, his work derived its influence from multiple sources. His works from before 1920 show the pure and brilliant colours of Fauvism, shapes taken from cubism, influences from folkloric Catalan art and Roman frescos from the churches.


Jean Miro - self portrait
Miro studied at La Lonja school of fine arts in Barcelona in 1918.In 1920 Miro visited Paris where he became a member of the surrealist movement. His first exhibition was in 1921 at the La Licorne gallery. In 1928 along with a group of surrealists, Miro exhibited at the Pierre gallery. From the late 1920s early 1930s Miro became more involved in producing surrealist sculptures and this was a decade that saw his 'tormented monsters'. Miro exeperimented with many artistic methods, including engraving, lithography, water colors, pastels, and painting over copper.

Handwriting on canvas

Miro's work may be described as being his coloured 'handwriting' on canvas. Miro himself describes it as "When I begin to paint, I don't plan to do a bird, a woman, or a precise object. Sometimes, an object appears, as in the Three birds in space. There are three birds here, but I didn't realize it until I saw them." (The titles? I invent them, sometimes to amuse myself, when I finish a painting. It is the painting that suggests the titles, and not the titles that suggest a painting...)" "The last works are three large blue canvases. I spent a lot of time on them - not on painting, but on thinking about them. It took an enormous effort, an incredible inner tension to reach the core that I was seeking. The preliminary phase was was like celebrating a religious rite, like taking vows. Do you know how Japanese bowmen prepare for contests? They start by placing themselves in position and concentrating; they breathe out, in, out. It's the same thing for me."


Jean Miro - Awakening at dawn
Miro on his technique: "First of all, after thinking and thinking for a long time, when to decide to paint, I start by preparing my backgrounds; it's the backgrounds that suggest the graphic design for me. Sometimes I use the ground of the material I am working on. Then I start to draw with charcoal, extremely precisely (I get to work at the crack of dawn). In the afternoon, I just look at what I've drawn. The rest of the day, I prepare myself mentally; and finally, I start to paint. When I paint, I try to determine a relationship between the strokes and the colours, a balance that gives life and that lives in terms of that relationship. Thus, on a black, I can put blue and red tones that have sculptural and poetic meaning, in order to give life and colour to that black. All the things in the painting are organised to meet the demand for balance, and every part is linked in a precise relationship. One thing leads me, almost automatically, to do another, in a sequence that is not only that of balance, but also of rythm: the picture then becomes a play of rythms, like poetry, with shapes and colours instead of words and verses.""I like to speak in lines - strokes - and colours. A line, a colour - a woman; a line, a colour - a bird. It is the drawing and the painting that, by means of a symbol, suggest the idea of the woman and the idea of the bird."Awakening at dawn (constellations) Miro's expression is of lines and colours, a poetry and joy of living. The pure colours and structure betray his artistic sensibilities. The most recurrent symbol here is the stars.


Joan Miro died in Palma de Mallorca in 1983.

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