Joan Miro Ferra was born on April 20, 1893, in Barcelona. At the age of 14, he went to business school in Barcelona while also attending art school. Choosing business over art, he took a position as a clerk but soon suffered a nervous breakdown. Abandoning business, he resumed his art studies in Barcelona from 1912 to 1915. His works during this time reflected influence from Fauvism, as well as taking inspiration from Cubism and Surrealism. Symbolic and poetic in nature, Miró’s art fit well within the context of Surrealism and in 1924 he joined the Surrealist group.
Miró was a constant innovator and throughout his career, he explored other techniques and mediums. In 1926, while collaborating with Max Ernst, they pioneered the technique of grattage. This is the process where pigment is transferred onto a canvas. This was when Miro started his experiments in etching and lithography, mediums which would define his career.
By 1930, Miró had developed his own unique style of imagery derived from elements of Catalan folk art and the art of children. These aspects of his work suited etching as the fluid line work and whimsical figures enabled him to focus on sharp details. As a constant experimenter, Miro’s etchings foretold of what he would accomplish in regards to printmaking and the skills he would develop later in his life.
With the opening of the Pierre Matisse Gallery in New York, Miró became an influential part of the Modern Art Movement. The Museum of Modern Art, New York held Miró’s first major museum retrospective in 1941. Always trying to find new ways to express himself, in 1948 Miró began to experiment with his printmaking techniques. Such techniques would result in his later mastering of some of his most difficult graphic works.
A true master of the printmaking medium, Miró received the Grand Prize for Graphic Work at the Venice Biennale in 1954. In 1958, he received a Guggenheim International Award for murals in the UNESCO building in Paris. Miro’s art became known globally, and he received many accolades during his lifetime. He worked until he passed away of heart disease on December 25, 1983, in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.
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