Combining Abstract Art with Surrealism, Joan Miró’s oeuvre is internationally respected. Born April 20, 1893, in Barcelona, Spain, Joan Miró Ferra was exposed to art at an early age through his watchmaker father. At the age of 14, he went to business school in Barcelona while also attending La Lonja’s Escuela Superior de Artes Industriales y Bellas Artes. Choosing business over art, he took a position as a clerk but later suffered a nervous breakdown. Abandoning business, he resumed his art studies and attended Francesc Galí’s Escola d’Art in Barcelona from 1912 to 1915. Receiving early encouragement from the dealer José Dalmau, Miró’s first show occurred at his gallery in 1918 where his work was ridiculed and defaced. His works during this time reflected the influence of Fauvism and folkloric Catalan art as is seen in Chapel of Sant Joan d’Horta (1917), but he was also drawn to Cubism and Surrealism.
Those artistic interests led Miró to move to Paris in 1920, but he continued to spend his summers in Catalonia. In Paris, Miró met Pablo Picasso, and other important emerging artists and poets, encircling himself with creative types. Dalmau organized Miró’s first solo show in Paris, at the Galerie la Licorne in 1921 and his work was included in the Salon d’Automne of 1923. Strongly symbolic and poetic in nature, Miró’s art fit well within the context of the dream-like erratic tendencies espoused by Surrealism and in 1924 he joined the Surrealist group, though always remained on the periphery of Surrealism. Such works included Catalan Landscape (The Hunter) (1923) and the Tilled Field (1924).
This is around the time Miró began to develop an antagonistic attitude towards painting and started to explore other techniques and mediums. In 1926, while collaborating with Max Ernst on designs for a ballet they pioneered the technique of grattage, in which pigment is troweled onto the canvas and in 1928 Miró began executing his first papiers collés and collages. During the early 1930s, Miró would delve into sculpture, incorporating painted stones and found objects into his three-dimensional works. This was also the time when he started his experiments in lithography, and his first etchings date to 1933, both mediums of which would comprise a majority of his oeuvre.