The Painted Sculpture of Joan Miro. (Museum Today)

Article excerpt

JOAN MIRO, born in Barcelona, Spain, in 1893, enjoyed a 75-year career as a painter, sculptor, muralist, and printmaker that earned him a lasting place as one of the most-innovative artists of the 20th century. His work has been, and remains, an inspiring example to several generations of artists around the world.

Miro was raised in Catalonia, Spain, and returned to that region throughout his life. Its dramatic landscape, agrarian roots, fiercely independent people, and distinctive folk culture continually infused his art. Miro also participated in the major art movements of his time. He exploited the anarchic, rebellious spirit of Dada in the 1920s and the fertile territory of dreams, memory, and the subconscious characteristic of Surrealism in the 1930s. He remained active internationally until his death in 1983, creating a tremendously varied and original body of work. An unaffected balance of childlike innocence and worldly sophistication; a deep reverence for nature, especially for the rugged rural landscape and the starlit night sky; and a tolerant, playful approach to the universally complex relations between men and women are the unifying threads that weave through his diverse work.

Miro concentrated on sculpture twice during his career. The first time was in the early 1930s, when he questioned the very notion of painting itself. Although Miro worked intermittently on sculpture over the next 30 years, it was not a major focus for him until the 1960s and 1970s.

Miro explored several directions in his work late in his life. He was intensely interested in ceramics, collaborating with his lifelong friend, Josep Llorens Artigas. Together, they produced more than 200 pieces between 1954 and 1956. …