Joan Miro: In Perspective

When I was painting the Constellations I had the genuine feeling that I was working in secret. But it was a liberation for me…I ceased thinking about all the tragedy around me.”

In 1918, when Joan Miro was 25, he had his first exhibition in Barcelona. He had already been through some difficult times. His family wanted him to give up the idea of painting and focus on a more practical career in business. Bowing to their demands, he went to business school and worked in a clerical position for two years. The result was a deep depression, followed by a case of typhoid fever.

While convalescing at the family farm in Montroig, just outside of Barcelona, Miro made art. His first exhibit was a disaster. Not only was nothing sold, but critics ridiculed his work.

Miro didn’t give up his art…he went to Paris in 1920, met Picasso, Andre Masson and other dedicated artists, and returned to Montroig to make some of the most recognizable, unique and poignant works of art ever created.

Joan Miro in Perspective

The recent retrospective of Miro’s work at the Museum of Modern Art, was accompanied by a musical program put together by Miro’s grandson, Joan Punyet Miro. Punyet Miro manages his grandfather’s estate, assists the foundations that preserve and further Miro’s work and has spent own his adult life researching and writing about his grandfather’s life and work.

Joan Punyet remembers watching his grandfather work at home. “In the morning he worked in his studio;” he said in an interview in Germany’s Schirn Magazine, “I wasn’t allowed to visit him there. But after lunch he liked to read poetry, listen to music, and between seven and eight he sat on the couch and opened all his corre­spon­dence. And as soon as he had paper in his hand, he took his pen and I could see how he with­drew into himself, working and sketching. He was in the dining room, on his sofa, alone, in very dark light, and he would draw the whole time. I was next to him and saw how he drew these magnif­i­cent things. For me these repre­sented some really special moments in my life, unfor­get­table.”

Much of Miro’s work is mystical, magical and joyful, yet it was created during times of turbulence and upheaval. Miro was born in 1893 and died in 1983. During his 90 years he experienced poverty, political unrest and a world at war.

During World War ll, Miro fled, with his wife a daughter, to Mallorca. “I was very pessimistic.” he said. “I felt that everything was lost.”  But he continued to work, even in the darkest of times. “When I was painting the Constellations I had the genuine feeling that I was working in secret. But it was a liberation for me…I ceased thinking about all the tragedy around me.”

After the war, Miro’s work was exhibited around the world, including a show at MoMA, and he gained great acclaim.

Femme et Oiseaux, one of the paintings in the Constellations series sold at Sotheby’s London in 2017 for 24,571,250 GBP, about $30.6 million.

Joan Miro’s Legacy

“It’s the young people who interest me, and not the old dodos.” Miro said, when he was 82. “If I go on working, it’s for the year 2000, and for the people of tomorrow.”

Miro’s work continues to fascinate and inspire. Please contact us if you would like more information about the work of Joan Miro available at VFA.

See More Joan Miro for Sale

References:
Katharina Cichosch. It is Difficult to Be Miro’s Grandson. SCHIRN MAGAZINE. March 5, 2016.
Joseph Nechvatal. A Creative Colony of Modernists in Coastal France. Hyper allergic. May 27,2019.
Peter Schjeldahl. Joan Miró’s Modernism for Everybody. The New Yorker. March 4, 2019.

Joan Miro: The Birth of the World at MoMA

When I was painting the Constellations, I had the genuine feeling that I was working in secret, but it was a liberation for me in that I ceased thinking about the tragedy all around me.

Joan Miro’s first show in Paris, in 1920, was a big disappointment for the artist. No one showed up and no paintings were sold. After the show, Miro went back to his home in Catalonia and began to incorporate what he had learned from the avant-garde artists and writers he had met in Paris with his own sensibility.

The result was The Birth of the World, a painting that combines whimsical forms and intense colors, which would become his signature style. Ironically, The Birth of the World was not well received by Miro’s friends or art dealers. Belgian art collector, Rene Gaffe, bought it in 1925 and kept it stashed in his private collection, exhibiting it only once, in Brussels, in the 1930s.

The Museum of Modern Art, which has one of the world’s most extensive collections of works by Joan Miro, bought the painting  from Gaffe’s widow in 1972, and it has been on continual display at MoMA ever since. Joan Miro: The Birth of the World includes painting, prints, lithographs and sculptures, mainly from MoMA’s collection. The exhibit runs through June 15, 2019.

The Quieter Side of Joan Miro

Joan Miro was born in Barcelona in 1893. He began to paint and draw at an early age, much to the dismay of his parents, who wanted him to have a career in business. Miro went to business school, and even took a job as a clerk, but abandoned business for art. He expanded his medium, using collage, ceramics, print and lithography, though his style remained his own.

Miro divided his time between Paris and summers at his family home in Mont-roig, Spain, but fled to Normandy with his family in 1939 when World War ll broke out. It was during this time, when Normandy was under a blackout order, that he created his series of Constellation paintings.

“When I was painting the Constellations, I had the genuine feeling that I was working in secret, but it was a liberation for me in that I ceased thinking about the tragedy all around me.” Miro said.

The Constellation Series had a profound  influence on Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Arshile Gorky and other artists who came after Miro. At the same time that Miro fled to Normandy, his friend, architect Josep Sert, fled to New York. Sert had an illustrious career in the United States. After a year as Visiting Professor at Yale, he became Dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Design, where he initiated the world’s first degree program in urban design.

In 1955, Sert designed a studio for Joan Miro in Palma de Mallorca, Spain, his first project in Spain after his exile. After Miro’s death in 1983, the studio was left as Miro had requested. “I want everything that I leave behind to stay just as it is when I am gone”. he said. The studio, which has been a tourist attraction for decades, has been recently re-opened to the public after being closed for nearly a year of renovations.

Joan Miro Works at VFA

Please contact us if you would like more information about the work of Joan Miro, or any of the other fine artists whose work is available in our gallery.

See More Joan Miro Work for Sale

References:
GRoberta Smith. Miró’s Greatness? It Was There. The New York Times. March 14, 2019.
Nancy Kenney. Making Miro: MoMA show explores turning point in artist’s career. The Art Newspaper. March 7, 2019.
Dany Chan. The Horrors and Delights of the Surrealist Subconscious. Hyper allergic. March 7, 2019.
Barbara Hoffman. Inside the splashy, bird-brained genius of Joan Miro. The New York Post. March 1, 2019.
Lauren Moya Ford. Joan Miro’s Studio Reopens with a Refreshed Perspective. Hyper allergic. February 21, 2019.
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