Miró, Joan

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Miró, Joan

(zhōän` mērō`), 1893–1983, Spanish surrealist painter. After studying in Barcelona, Miró went to Paris in 1919. In the 1920s he came into contact with cubismcubism,
art movement, primarily in painting, originating in Paris c.1907. Cubist Theory

Cubism began as an intellectual revolt against the artistic expression of previous eras.
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 and surrealismsurrealism
, literary and art movement influenced by Freudianism and dedicated to the expression of imagination as revealed in dreams, free of the conscious control of reason and free of convention.
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. His work has been characterized as psychic automatism, an expression of the subconscious in free form. By 1930, Miró had developed a lyrical style that remained fairly consistent. It is distinguished by the use of brilliant pure color and the playful juxtaposition of delicate lines with abstract, often amebic shapes (e.g., Dog Barking at the Moon, 1926; Philadelphia Mus. of Art). In some of his works there is a distinct undertone of nightmare and horror. After 1941, Miró lived mainly in Majorca. He painted murals for hotels in New York City and Cincinnati and for the Graduate Center at Harvard. In 1958 he completed ceramic decorations for the UNESCO buildings in Paris. Many of his canvases are in the Museum of Modern Art and Guggenheim Museum.


See studies by J. T. Soby (1959), U. Apolonio (tr. 1969), and R. Penrose (1971).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Miró, Joan


Born Apr. 20, 1893, in Montroig, near Tarragona, Catalonia. Spanish painter, sculptor, and graphic artist.

Miro attended the San Jorge School of Fine Arts in Barcelona from 1907 to 1910. He has lived mostly in Paris since 1919. Miro exhibited with the surrealists in their first group exhibition in 1925. In his ornamental works the artist imitates a child’s naive, incoherent drawing, arranging on a flat plane various figures that sometimes vaguely resemble real objects but more frequently are fantastic, mollusk-shaped forms that seem to flow into each other (Catalan Landscape, 1924, Museum of Modern Art, New York City; Still Life With an Old Shoe, 1937, private collection, New Canaan, Conn.; A Woman and a Bird in the Moonlight, 1949, Tate Gallery, London). In the 1940’s and 1950’s, Miro took up abstract art. The artist also did book illustrations and designed ceramics and carpets. He subsequently turned to monumental decorative art, for example, the tile mural in the UNESCO building in Paris (1958).


Soby, J. T. Joan Miro. New York, 1959.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.