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Joan Miró

*20 April 1893 in Barcelona, Spain

+25 December 1983 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain

Biography

Born in Barcelona in 1893, the artist Joan Miró is known for his distinctive stylistic idiom. A playful, almost childlike expression of recurring symbols such as stars, ladders, birds, moons, eyes, heads, figures or suns determines his oeuvre. The superordinate themes such as flora, fauna, humans and the cosmos occupy Miró throughout his life. Like hieroglyphs, Miró recombines the various elements into new works again and again. In spite of their increasing abstraction, the elements are always to be understood in a narrative way due to their symbolic nature.

 

Miró’s artistic signature runs through his versatile oeuvre. In addition to painting, sculpture and ceramics, he has also been intensively engaged in printmaking since the 1930s. In Miró’s late work, prints increasingly replaced the medium of painting, the canvas as a medium. But also in this medium his immeasurable richness of ideas becomes noticeable. Miró experimented with the variants of gravure printing such as etching, aquatint, copper engraving, drypoint etching and carborundum. He makes targeted use of the special forms of expression of the various techniques. For example, he uses the aquatint to create soft blotches of colour or the carborundum, a kind of embossed print with colour, to express himself powerfully. Miró’s interest in etching also derives from his origins, as his father was a goldsmith. Lithography enriches Miró’s graphic work, as it allows for a heightened colourfulness as the etching.

 

In his life, the artist created print works that stood for themselves, but also a wealth of book illustrations. Miró is particularly interested in the illustrations of literary works, often those of his friends. Ultimately, for Miró, prints are not only a way of expressing his artistic urge, but they also contribute to Miró’s accessibility and popularity.

 

The artist, who demanded the “assassination of painting” (“Assassinat de la peinture”), found in prints a popular medium apart from traditional, more commercialized art. All the media that Miró used in the course of his life bear witness to his very own style, to his unmistakable artistic signature. Joan Miró died in 1983, at the age of 90.