Joan Miro

Spanish (1893 - 1983)
Joan Miro Maternité [Maternity] 1924 © Successió Miró / ADAGP, Paris and DACS London 2017.


Born 1893
Died 1983
Nationality Spanish

Miró was born in Barcelona and moved to Paris in 1920. His early work combined miniaturist detail with a cubist fragmentation of space. In Paris he abandoned this style and began to paint an imaginary world full of strange, insect-like figures and forms, which seemed to float in space. This fantastic sign language, which was partly inspired by images from the artist's unconscious mind, soon became a hallmark of Surrealist art. Although he spent time away from Spain, Miró remained interested in Catalonian folklore throughout his career.

Glossary terms

  • A literary and artistic movement founded by the poet André Breton in 1924. Many of the associated artists, such as Max Ernst and Jean Arp, had previously been involved with Dadaism. The movement sought to challenge conventions through the exploration of the subconscious mind, invoking the power of dreams and elements of chance. Cultural hierarchies were challenged by the combination of diverse elements in collages and sculptural assemblages. The movement is also notable for the collaborations between artists and writers evident in the Surrealists' many publications.

  • A loosely affiliated group of artists working in Paris in the early years of the twentieth century up to the Second World War. The term initially referred specifically to non-French artists who had settled in the city but was later used more generally. Artists associated with group are regarded as innovators of modern art, working in styles as diverse as Fauvism, Cubism, Surrealism and Abstract Art. They include Picasso, Matisse, Chagall and Modigliani.