Biography

An international artist with strong local roots

Man Ray, 1933

Joan Miró

(Barcelona, 1893 - Palma, 1983)

Although Joan Miró explored many different artistic techniques-including painting, sculpture, lithographs, tapestries and ceramics-he is best known as a painter. The collection of work he donated to the Fundació Joan Miró, together with the preparatory sketches, documentation and correspondence kept in our archives, offers an insight into both the person and the artist: the impact of poetry on his work, his revolutionary spirit, his painstaking work process and his reading matter. A tireless artist who was deeply committed to his time and country.

Timeline

1893-1917

1893

Joan Miró i Ferrà is born on 20 April at 4 Passatge del Crèdit, Barcelona. His father, Miquel Miró i Adzerias, son of a blacksmith in Cornudella, was a silversmith and watchmaker; his mother, Dolors Ferrà i Oromí, was the daughter of a cabinet maker in Palma de Mallorca.

1900

He begins primary school at 13 Carrer del Regomir, Barcelona, where he attends drawing classes given by a Mr Civil.

1901

His earliest surviving drawings date from this year.

1907

He enrols at the Escola de Comerç in Barcelona and, until 1910, also attends classes at the Escola Superior d'Arts Industrials i Belles Arts (La Llotja), where he is taught by Modest Urgell and Josep Pascó.

Joan Miró, 1907

1910

He starts work as an accounts clerk at Dalmau i Oliveres chemist's shop in Barcelona. He takes part in his first exhibition, a display of old and modern portraits and drawings organised by the city council.

1911

He struggles to adapt to his job at Dalmau i Oliveres and his health suffers. He catches typhoid fever and spends time convalescing at the farmhouse his parents have recently bought in Mont-roig.

1912

He decides to devote himself entirely to painting and enrols at the art school run by Francesc Galí, which he attends until 1915. His fellow students include Joan Prats, Josep Francesc Ràfols, Enric Cristòfol Ricart and possibly Josep Llorens Artigas, among others.

1913

He enrols at the Cercle Artístic de Sant Lluc, where he attends life classes. Here he meets up again with Joan Prats and the two become close friends.

1916

He meets dealer Josep Dalmau, who shows an interest in his work. He rents a studio with E.C. Ricart at 51 Carrer de Sant Pere més Baix, Barcelona, which they share until 1918.

Joan Miró, 1916

1917

Through Josep Dalmau he probably meets Maurice Raynal and Francis Picabia. He takes an interest in poetry and reads Catalan and French avant-garde reviews such as Pierre Reverdy's Nord-Sud and Albert Birot's SIC. He visits the Exposition d'Art Français, in Barcelona.

1918-1930

1918

He joins the Agrupació Courbet, together with Josep Llorens Artigas, J.F. Ràfols, E.C. Ricart, Rafael Sala, Francesc Domingo and Marià Espinal, all students of Gali´s art school and the Cercle Artístic de Sant Lluc.

First solo show at the Galeries Dalmau, Barcelona.

1920

He travels to Paris for the first time, where Josep Dalmau tries to organise an exhibition for him. He visits Picasso.

1921

He remains in Paris until 1925. He has the use of Pablo Gargallo's studio at 45 Rue Blomet during the academic terms. He spends the rest of the year mainly at Mont-roig. He has his solo exhibition in Paris at the Galerie La Licorne, organised by Josep Dalmau. The introduction to the catalogue is written by Maurice Raynal.

1922

In Paris, he lives and works at 45 Rue Blomet. He becomes friendly with André Masson, who is a neighbour, and with Roland Tual.

1923

Through Masson he meets Michel Leiris and probably Antonin Artaud, Robert Desnos, Jean Dubuffet, Paul Éluard, Marcel Jouhandeau, Georges Limbour, Raymond Queneau and Armand Salacrou. He also meets Ernest Hemingway, who purchases The Farm, and Ezra Pound. In Mont-roig he begins painting Tilled Field, Catalan Landscape (The Hunter) and Pastoral, which mark a turning point in his art.

1924

Avant-garde poets and writers gather in Masson's studio at 45 Rue Blomet. Miró's friends during this period are Max Jacob, Michel Leiris, Georges Limbour, Benjamin Péret, Armand Salacrou and Roland Tual.

1925

André Breton meets Miró during a visit to the studio in Rue Blomet. First solo exhibition at the Galerie Pierre, Paris.

Man Ray, 1925

1926

He moves into a new studio at 22 Rue Tourlaque, in the Cité des Fusains. His neighbours are Max Ernst, Hans Arp and probably Paul Éluard and Camille Goemans. Sergei Diaghilev commissions Miró and Ernst to design the sets and costumes for the ballet Romeo and Juliet to be performed by the Ballets Russes.

1928

He produces the first object-collage, entitled Spanish Dancer. He visits Belgium and Holland. He paints the Dutch Interiors in Mont-roig.

1929

He works on the Imaginary Portraits series. He marries Pilar Juncosa in Palma de Mallorca. They settle in Paris, in an apartment at 3 Rue François Mouton.

Joan Miró and Pilar Juncosa

1930

He works on a series of paintings in very varied styles. According to Miró, they are a farewell to painting, albeit a temporary one, as he wishes to work in other media such as bas relief and sculpture. His only daughter, Maria Dolors, is born in Barcelona. In Mont-roig he produces his first three-dimensional pieces. First solo show in the United States, at the Valentine Gallery, New York.

1931-1941

1931

In Mont-roig he starts work a series of paintings on Ingres paper and object-paintings.

Miró's family, 1931

1932

Through Joan Prats he meets architect Josep Lluís Sert. He resolves to spend more time in Barcelona. He lives and works in the family home at 4 Passatge del Crèdit until 1936. He works on a new series of objects and he designs the curtain, sets, costumes and objects for the ballet Jeux d'enfants performed by the Ballets Russes de Monte-Carlo, with music by Georges Bizet, libretto by Boris Kochno and choreography by Léonide Massine. First solo show at the Pierre Matisse Gallery, New York.

1933

He works on a series of 18 collages and then produces paintings based on them. Publication of Georges Hugnet's Enfances, the first book illustrated by Miró.

Man Ray, 1933

1934

He signs a contract with Pierre Matisse, who represents him in the United States.

1936

He starts work on a series of 27 paintings on masonite. He travels to Paris with his latest works, which are to be exhibited in New York. When the Spanish civil war breaks out, he decides to stay in Paris. His wife and daughter join him, and they remain in France until 1940.

1937

He lives and works in an apartment at 98 Boulevard Auguste Blanqui, Paris. He attends life classes at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière, where he produces a large number of drawings. He produces a large mural painting, The Reaper (Catalan Peasant in Revolt), for the Spanish Republican government's pavilion, designed by Josep Lluís Sert and Luis Lacasa, at the World Fair in Paris.

1938

He works on etchings and dry-point engravings with Marcoussis and prints them at the studios of Roger Lacourière and Stanley W. Hayter.

1939

He leaves Paris in the summer and rents a house in Varengeville-sur-Mer, Normandy, where the family remain until 1940.

1940

In January he starts work on a series of 23 gouaches, which he continues in Palma de Mallorca and completes in Mont-roig in September 1941. It comes to be known as the Constellations series. The Germans bomb Normandy at the end of May and Miró decides to return to Spain with his family, where they settle in Palma de Mallorca.

1941

First major retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Organisation and catalogue by James Johnson Sweeney.

1942-1951

1942

He continues working exclusively on paper. He returns to Barcelona, where he lives at 4 Passatge del Crèdit.

Joaquim Gomis, 1942

1943

He continues working on paper, with the sole known exception of Painting with Art Nouveau Frame, from the Joan Prats collection.

1944

He produces his first ceramics, using materials from an unsuccessful firing in 1941 by Josep Llorens Artigas. This marks the start of the first period of collaboration between them, which continues until 1947.

Publication of the set of 50 lithographs known as the Barcelona Series, under the supervision of Joan Prats. He returns to painting on canvas, which he had barely touched since 1939.

Joaquim Gomis, 1944

1945

He works on several series of large-format paintings.

1946

He produces his first bronze sculptures.

1947

First trip to the United States, where he produces a mural painting for the Gourmet Room at the Terrace Plaza Hotel in Cincinnati. During his stay in New York he frequents Stanley W. Hayter's studio Atelier 17, where he explores engraving techniques. He takes part in Le Surréalisme en 1947: Exposition internationale du surréalisme at the Galerie Maeght, Paris, organised by André Breton and Marcel Duchamp.

1948

First solo exhibition at the Galerie Maeght, Paris. Aimé Maeght becomes his new representative in France.

1949

This year and next he alternates between two types of painting: one more reflective and the other more gestural and impulsive. Although based in Barcelona, he makes frequent visits to Paris to work on printing techniques at the Mourlot studio (lithographs) and at the Atelier Lacourière (engravings). His work becomes increasingly focused on ceramics and sculpture. Exhibition at the Galerías Layetanas, Barcelona, sponsored by Cobalto 49.

1950

He lives and works at 4 Passatge del Crèdit 4, Barcelona, until the autumn, when he moves to a flat at 9 Carrer de Folgaroles, where he also works, although he keeps on the studio in Passatge del Crèdit. He starts work on the mural painting for the dining hall at Harkness Commons, Harvard University, commissioned by Walter Gropius, which he completes the following year.

1951

In Mont-roig, he works on sculptures in a studio built for him at the farmhouse.

Ernest Scheidegger, 1950-1952

1952-1966

1952

Second trip to the United States.

1954

He embarks on a new period of collaboration with Josep Llorens Artigas in Gallifa. Over the next two years he produces more than 200 ceramic pieces.

1955

He produces a series of paintings on cardboard. He then stops painting until 1959 but continues working on ceramics and graphic arts.

Francesc Català- Roca, 1954

1956

He sells the flat in Passatge del Crèdit and moves permanently to Palma, where he builds a house and commissions Josep Lluís Sert to design a studio for him.

1958

Unveiling of the two murals for Unesco in Paris, for which he receives the Guggenheim International Award.

1959

He works with Josep Llorens Artigas on the ceramic mural for Harkness Commons, Harvard University.

1961

Publication of Jacques Dupin's landmark book on Miró.

1962

Retrospective at the Musée National d'Art Moderne, Paris.

1964

Opening of the Fondation Maeght, designed by Josep Lluís Sert, including its Labyrinth with sculptures by Miró and ceramics by Miró and Artigas, at Saint-Paul-de-Vence.

1966

He produces his first monumental sculptures in bronze, Sun Bird and Moon Bird. Retrospective at the National Museum of Art, Tokyo. He visits Japan for the first time and meets poet Shuzo Takiguchi, author of the first monograph on Miró.

1967-1979

1967

Installation of a ceramic mural, produced in collaboration with Josep Llorens Artigas, at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York. Awarded the Carnegie International Grand Prize for painting.

1968

Final trip to the United States. Awarded an honorary doctorate by Harvard University. Retrospectives at the Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, and at the Antic Hospital de la Santa Creu, Barcelona, sponsored by the city council.

Francesc Català- Roca, 1968

1969

Miró otro exhibition at the Col·legi d'Arquitectes, Barcelona. Miró paints the glass front of the building (an ephemeral action that is erased when the exhibition is over).

1970

Ceramic mural and mural painting for the Laughter Pavilion, sponsored by Japanese gas companies at the Osaka World Fair. In conjunction with Artigas, he produces a monumental ceramic mural for Barcelona Airport.

1972

The Fundació Joan Miró - Centre d'Estudis d'Art Contemporani is legally constituted in Barcelona. Josep Lluís Sert is commissioned to design the building.

1975

The Fundació Joan Miró - Centre d'Estudis d'Art Contemporani opens to the public. A large selection of paintings, sculptures, textiles and prints are exhibited.

Francesc Català-Roca, 1975

1976

His ceramic paving is installed in Pla de l'Os, on the Rambla, Barcelona. Official opening of the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona, with an exhibition of drawings from the collection donated by the artist.

1977

He produces a large tapestry in conjunction with Josep Royo for the National Gallery, Washington D.C., and starts work on the tapestry for the Fundació Joan Miró. He paints the sets and figures for Mori el Merma, with the help of the actors in the Teatre de la Claca company.

Francesc Català- Roca, 1977

1978

Retrospective at the Museo Español de Arte Contemporáneo, Madrid, organised in conjunction with the Fundació Joan Miró. Premiere of Mori el Merma at the Gran Teatre del Liceu, Barcelona, performed by the Teatre de la Claca company, with giant puppets, masks and sets painted by Miró. Unveiling of the monumental sculpture Lovers Playing with Almond Blossom in La Défense, Paris

1979

Unveiling of the stained-glass windows at the Fondation Maeght, produced in collaboration with Charles Marcq, with whom Miró also made the stained-glass windows for the Chapelle Royale de Saint-Frambourg-de-Senlis, the venue for artistic and musical events held by the Cziffra Foundation. Awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Barcelona.

1980-1983

1980

King Juan Carlos of Spain awards Miró the Gold Medal for Fine Arts.

1981

Installation of the monumental sculpture known as Miss Chicago in Brunswick Plaza, Chicago.

1982

Installation of the monumental sculpture Woman and Bird in the Parc de Joan Miró, Barcelona, on the former site of the city slaughterhouse.

1983

Various events and exhibitions are held to celebrate Miró's 90th birthday, including Joan Miró: A Ninetieth-Birthday Tribute at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Joan Miró: 1920s. Mutation of Reality at the Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona. Unveiling of a monumental sculpture in the courtyard of Barcelona City Hall. Joan Miró dies in Palma de Mallorca on 25 December. He is buried on 29 December in Montjuïc cemetery, Barcelona.

Arnold Newman, 1979