A proud Catalan, Joan Miró is one of the revolutionaries of Modern Art. His style can be classified as Surrealism, exploring the subconscious mind, with a hint of Dada. He was loyal to his Catalonian roots but also affected by international art movements and eventually earned international acclaim. He was influenced by the surrealists in 1920s Paris, and Abstract Expressionism in New York in the 1940s.
Born in Barcelona in 1893, Joan Miró showed his talent from the young age of 7, when he started drawing classes at school. He studied art and business together and started working as a clerk but his creative genius could not bear to do anything else than art so he abandoned the business life after a nervous breakdown and resumed his art studies.
Inspired by Cubist and surrealist exhibitions from France, in 1920 Miró moved to Paris, where he met Pablo Picasso and got to know the Dada and Surrealist movements. Two of Miró’s first works classified as Surrealist, Catalan Landscape (The Hunter), and The Tilled Field, employ the dream-like symbolic language that subjugated the art of the next decade, like works by Salvador Dali and Max Ernst. His unique style, which he developed in Paris, consisted of organic forms and flattened picture planes drawn with a sharp line.
Although Miró did not declare his membership in any artistic movement, the founder of Surrealism André Breton described him as "the most Surrealist of us all". Consistent with Surrealism, he was interested in automatism and the use of phallic objects. Due to the political fluctuation of his era, mainly the Spanish Civil War and World War II, Miró had to relocate numerous times, encountering different environments, people and art styles that influenced his work greatly. When the Spanish Civil War broke out, he had to stop spending his summers in Spain and he was unable to return home, which fueled his nationalist feelings and influenced his work by elements of longing towards his home country.
A museum dedicated to his work, the Fundació Joan Miró, was established in his native city of Barcelona in 1975, and another, the Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró, was established in his adoptive city of Palma de Mallorca in 1981. In the art market today, Miró’s paintings sell for between $ 250,000 and $ 32 million depending on subject, decade and medium. “La Caresse des étoiles” (1938) was sold for $ 17 million on 6 May 2008 breaking the record for the artist, however this was only a start. In 2012 at Christie’s, Painting-Poem ("Le Corps de ma Brune Puisque Je l'aime comme ma chatte habillée en vert salade comme de la grêle c'est pareil") (1925) was sold for $ 26.6 million. This was topped by Peinture (Etoile Bleue) (1927), which was sold for almost $ 32 million at Sotheby’s, more than twice its hammer price at an auction in Paris in 2007. Peinture (Etoile Bleue) features Miró’s key image, incorporating symbols that he would use repeatedly in later years, and the signature blue colour, which influenced later painters including Mark Rothko and Yves Klein.