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Joan Mir

Joan Mir


Joan Mir i Ferr

Apr. 20, 1893
Barcelona, Spain


Dec. 25, 1983 (at age 90)

Palma, Majorca, Spain




Escuela de Bellas Artes de la Llotja,

and Escuela de Arte de Francesco
Gal, Circulo Artstico de Sant Lluc,


Surrealism, Dada, Personal,



Painting, Sculpture, Mural and


Joan Mir Famous Artwork

The Tilled Field, 1924

The Farm, 19211922
Dona i Ocell, 1983
Still Life with Old Shoe, 1937
Portrait of Vincent Nubiola, 1917
Hands flying off toward the constellations,
Complete Works

Joan Mir was born April 20, 1893 in Barcelona, Spain. His dad was a gold smith and
watch maker. Joan had an early passion for art, and took drawing classes while at
primary school. As for his other classes though, he did rather poorly. Art was the only
thing he excelled at. In 1907, he enrolled at School of Industrial and Fine Arts in
Barcelona, the Lonja, and stayed there until 1910.
In 1912 while recovering from typhoid, he officially decided he wanted to be a painter.
He spent three years at a school run by Francesco Gal, and studied art at the Cercle
Artstic de Sant Lluc. He had his first solo exhibition in 1918 at the Daluma Galleries.
All the art in the show was influenced by Fauvism, Cubism, folk-Catalan art, and
Roman Frescoes; his work at this point combines many types of art, but it does not
look anything like his mature work.
He traveled to Paris and met Picasso in 1920. Mir considered it an honor to meet
one of his favorite painters, but post-meeting, Joans work became surrealist; as if
Picasso helped make up his style and mind. He held his own solo exhibit in Paris in
1921 at the La Licorne Gallery. Ernest Hemmingway bought one of his paintings, The
Farm, which was a fauvist like piece. One of his most recognized works was painted a
few years following this.Harlequins Carnival, 1925, is really spastic, and confusing.
It has a bunch of toys and imaginary things all over the canvas, making it look like a
kids mind. This piece represents what his mature work would resemble.
Mirs best friend was Max Ernst, another Surrealist artist and together, they were
asked to design the costumes and set for the ballet Romeo and Julliet in 1926. It was
performed in Paris by the Ballets Russes. Soon after, Joan started becoming
interested in other types of art, like collages, lithographs, etchings, and engraving.
His collage Spanish Dancer is the most well-known.

Photo by: Wikipedia Creative Commons

In 1929, Mir married Pilar Juncosa, and they had a daughter, Dolores on July 17,
1931. Soon after, the Spanish Civil War broke out, so they moved to Paris. Joan was
able to continue his art there and raise his family. They moved back to Spain in 1940.
During the time in Spain though, his art started showing Surrealism. For
instance, Composition, made in 1933, is kind of a fantasy/dream-like state. It has the
influence of Henri Matisse in the lines, but Sigmund Freud in the overall idea. It
suggests that you have to search for your identity in your mind.
During the late 50s, Joan focused on public art projects like murals and plop art. The
most famous is the Wall of the Moon and Wall of the Sun, made from 1957-1958, and
are located at the UNESCO building in Paris. The murals are ceramic, which became
his craze at this time in his art.

Photo by: Wikipedia Creative Commons

In 1972, he created The Joan Mir foundation, Center for Study of Contemporary Art.
His friend designed the buildings, and he donated all his art to this place, which was
about 240 paintings, 175 sculptures, nine textiles, four ceramics, and 8,000 drawings.
Following the opening of his museum, he went to Wichita State University in Kansas
and did the glass mosaic Personnage Oiseaux from 1972-1978.
Four years before his death, Joan was named Doctor Honoris Causa by the University
of Barcelona. During the last couple years of his life, he suffered from heart disease,
and he died on December 25, 1983 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain. He was 90.

Photo by: Wikipedia

Creative Commons

Throughout his life, Mirs goal for his art was to be able to make the painting into a
poem, for a picture speaks a thousand words, and a Mir could speak two thousand.
He also sought to balance compositions. LikeThe Farm, 1920, which is the piece
Hemmingway bought, the cracked wall balances out the chicken coup on the other
side of the picture. The ladder inThe Farm symbolizes escape, which Mir thought
completed the picture, for it is a work of art and a poem.
According to Mir, his work always takes place in three stages: first, the suggestion,
always forms the material; second, the conscious organization of these forms; and
third, the compositional enrichment. For example, a crack on the wall could be the
suggestion, then he would build off that with some further shapes and forms, and
after that finish the painting off.
Joan Mirs life philosophy was, you must always plant your feet firmly on the
ground if you want to jump into the air. The fact that I come down to Earth from time
to time makes it possible to jump all the higher. His artwork in the beginning was
small, and critics didnt pay too much attention to it. But each time he started a new
piece, it became more and more popular, more and more influential, which led to his
significance in todays art world and history.