An assassination of painting
The Fundació Joan Miró is dedicated to the work of Joan Miró, perhaps the most acclaimed artistic native of Barcelona alongside Pablo Picasso. A master of many techniques including etching, bas relief, sculpture, and ceramics, he is most well known for his paintings. He viewed traditional methods as part of the bourgeois establishment, and famously declared an ‘assassination of painting’ in his development of a Surrealist pictorial language.
Miró’s exceptional talent was appreciated during his lifetime, and he became popular in the most elite cultural circles. He moved to Paris in 1920, a thriving artistic hub at the time, and became friendly with influential creatives including André Masson. Through Masson he met his renowned countryman Pablo Picasso, and in 1923 he became acquainted with the American literary modernists Ezra Pound and Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway purchased Miró’s painting The Farm, declaring that ‘It has in it all that you feel about Spain when you are there and all that you feel when you are away and cannot go there. No one else has been able to paint these two very opposing things.’ Throughout his years in France, Miró never forgot his home city. From 1932 he began to split his time between Paris, where he had started a family, and Barcelona, favouring Spain in his later years. He collaborated on acclaimed ceramics projects with Barcelona-based Josep Llorens Artigas in the 1950s, reawakening an interest in the medium, and was commissioned to design ceramic murals for Barcelona’s public spaces such as the paving in La Rambla, and sculptures like the huge Woman and Bird in Parc de Joan Miró.
A Surrealist landmark
In his Foundation, Miró left a magnificent legacy. He wanted not only to exhibit his own works to the public, but also to establish a centre that would inspire young contemporary artists to keep pushing the boundaries of experimentation. Designed by his friend Josep Lluís Sert, the Fundació Miró opened in 1972. The all-white building was built in the Rationalist style with Mediterranean features, echoing Miró’s idiosyncratic use of shape, and forming an iconic fusion of art, architecture and landscape on the hill of Barcelona’s Montjuïc. It exhibits a vast catalogue of Miró’s work alongside that of other artists; two galleries, the museum’s Espai 10 and Espai 13, hold rotating exhibitions of the most cutting-edge art, both local and international. Miró died in 1983 at the age of 90, and is buried in the nearby Montjuïc cemetery.
In order to contain its growing archive, the museum has been expanded twice since its initial construction, including the addition of an auditorium and library. It now has over 10,000 items in its collection, including many of Miró’s most important paintings and sculptures, illustrated books (known as the Livres d’artiste) and a specially-designed tapestry at the entrance. Fundacío Miró is a bright and beautiful monument to a giant of modern art, and well worth taking an entire day to enjoy.