Joan Miró i Ferrà (April 20, 1893 – December 25, 1983) was a Spanish painter, sculptor, print maker and ceramicist born in Barcelona. A museum dedicated to his work, the Fundació Joan Miró, was established in his birth city in 1975.
Earning international acclaim, his work has been interpreted as Surrealism, a sandbox for the subconscious mind, a re-creation of the childlike, and a manifestation of Catalan pride. In numerous interviews dating from the 1930s onwards, Miró expressed contempt for conventional painting methods as a way of supporting bourgeois society, and famously declared an “assassination of painting” in favor of upsetting the visual elements of established painting.
In Paris, under the influence of poets and writers, he developed his unique style: organic forms and flattened picture planes drawn with a sharp line. Generally thought of as a Surrealist because of his interest in automatism and the use of sexual symbols (for example, ovoids with wavy lines emanating from them), Miró’s style was influenced in varying degrees by Surrealism and Dada.
Miró has been a significant influence on late 20th-century art, in particular the American abstract expressionist artists such as Motherwell, Calder, Gorky, Pollock, Matta and Rothko although his relationship with his contemporaries was often adversarial. Miró’s oft-quoted interest in the assassination of painting is derived from a dislike of bourgeois art, which he believed was used as a way to promote propaganda and cultural identity among the wealthy. Specifically, Miró responded to Cubism in this way, which by the time of his quote had become an established art form in France by artists such as Picasso, Matisse, Braque and Leger. He is quoted as saying “I will break their guitar,” referring to Picasso’s paintings, with the intent to attack the popularity and appropriation of Picasso’s art by politics.
In the final decades of his life Miró accelerated his work in different media, producing hundreds of ceramics, etchings, lithographs, books and pochoirs. Although his relationship with his peers like Picasso and Matisse was often adversarial, he’s considered one of the great 20th century artists.