Born April 20, 1893 in Barcelona, Spain, Joan Miró Ferrà was a sculptor, and ceramicist who combined abstract art with Surrealist fantasy. At the age of 14, Miró went to business school in Barcelona and also attended La Lonja’s Escuela Superior de Artes Industriales y Bellas Artes in the same city. Upon completing three years of art studies, he took a position as a clerk which he soon abandoned and returned to his art studies, attending Francesc Galís Escola d’Art in Barcelona from 1912 to 1915. The art dealer, Jose Dalmau offered Miró early encouragement and gave him his first show at his gallery in Barcelona in 1918.
Miró made his first trip to Paris in 1920, where he met Pablo Picasso. He subsequently began to divide his time between Paris and Montroig, Spain. In Paris, he became associated with other influential early modernists. Miró’s at this time showed reflected a wide net of influences, including the bright colors of the Fauves, the broken forms of cubism, and the flat two-dimensionality of Catalan folk art and Romanesque church frescoes of his native Spain. Under the influence of the surrealist poets and painters he associated himself with in the early 1920s, his style matured, and he began to draw on memory, fantasy, and the irrational to create works of art with twisted organic shapes as well as odd geometric constructions that were visual representations of surrealist poetry.
Miró’s first major museum retrospective was held at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, in 1941. In 1944, Miró began working in ceramics with Josep Lloréns y Artigas and started to concentrate on prints; from 1954 to 1958 he worked predominately in these two mediums. Miró received the Grand Prize for Graphic Work at the Venice Biennale in 1954, and his work was included in the first Documenta exhibition in Kassel the following year. In 1958, Miró was given a Guggenheim International Award for murals for the UNESCO building in Paris. The following year, he resumed painting, initiating a series of mural-sized canvases. During the 1960s, he began to work intensively in sculpture. Miró retrospectives took place at the Musée National d’Art Moderne, Paris, in 1962, and the Grand Palais, Paris, in 1974. In 1978 the Musée National d’Art Moderne exhibited over five hundred works in a major retrospective of his drawings. Miró died on December 25, 1983, in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.