Joan Miro was born on April 20, 1893 as the son of a goldsmith and jewelry maker in Barcelona in Northern Spain. Miro started drawing classes at the age of seven, but his parents would rather have seen him taking a job as a serious businessman. He even took business classes in 1907 simultaneously with his art classes. Miro worked as an accountant for nearly two years until he had a nervous breakdown. His parents finally accepted their son's choice of a career as an artist without giving him too much support.
His work before 1920 shows wide-ranging influences, including the bright colors of the Fauves, the broken forms of cubism, and the powerful, flat two-dimensionality of Catalan folk art and Romanesque church frescoes of his native Spain
In 1920, he visited Paris for the first time, and met Picasso. This is probably one of the main reasons why his style changed after this point, and Miro began to focus on more surreal paintings. He decided to move to Paris, and held his first solo exhibition there in 1921. From 1924 on, Miro joined the circle of the Surrealist theorist Andre Breton. His painting style took a turn to Surrealism. His comrades were Andre Masson and Max Ernst. But he never integrated himself completely into this group dominated by Andre Breton.
In 1926, Miro and his friend, Max Ernst, were commissioned to design the sets and costumes for the ballet Romeo and Juliet, performed in Paris by the Ballets Russes. Around this time, Miró also started to become interested in object collages. The first he produced was the Spanish Dancer. He moved away from painting for a while, and concentrated on sculptures. However, he also experimented with a wide variety of other artistic forms, including lithography, engraving, and painting over copper.
By 1930 the artist had developed his own style. Miro art is hard to describe. It is characterized by brilliant colors combined with simplified forms that are reminiscent of drawings made by children at the age of five. Joan Miro art integrates elements of Catalan folk art. He liked to compare his visual arts to poetry.
He married in 1929, and his daughter was born the following year. Miró then decided to spend more time in Spain, until the outbreak of the Spanish Civil war forced him to move his family back to Paris in 1936. They remained there until 1940, when they moved back to Spain. Miró continued to learn about, and experiment with, various materials and types of art, but it was his ceramic work that he concentrated on.
In the late 1950s, Miro began to produce commissioned works, particularly murals and large outdoor sculptures for locations around the world. In the end of the 1960s his final period was marked and lasted until his death. During this time, he concentrated more and more on monumental and public works. He was characterized by the body language and freshness with which he carried out his canvasses, as well as the special attention he paid to material and the stamp he received from informalism. He concentrated his interest on the symbol, not giving too much importance to the representing theme, but to the way the symbol emerged as the piece of work.
In 1975 the Joan Miro Foundation Centre of Contemporary Art Study was officially opened in the city of Barcelona and in 1979, four years before his death, he was named Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of Barcelona. This Center is not surprisingly the biggest collection in the world, because Miro donated the vast majority of his masterpieces before his death. It includes 240 paintings, 175 sculptures, 9 textiles, 4 ceramics, the almost complete graphic works, and around 8,000 drawings. Other examples of Miro’s work can be found at museums and locations around the world. Miro died in Majorca, Spain, on December 25, 1983.