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Joan Miró Ferra was born April 20, 1893, in Barcelona. At the age of 14, he went to business school in Barcelona and also attended La Lonja’s Escuela Superior de Artes Industriales y Bellas Artes in the same city. Upon completing three years of art studies, he took a position as a clerk. After suffering a nervous breakdown, he abandoned business and resumed his art studies, attending Francesc Galí’s Escola d’Art in Barcelona from 1912 to 1915. Miró received early encouragement from the dealer José Dalmau, who gave him his first solo show at his gallery in Barcelona in 1918. In 1917 he met Francis Picabia.

 

In 1920 Miró made his first trip to Paris, where he met Pablo Picasso. From this time, Miró divided his time between Paris and Montroig, Spain. In Paris he associated with the poets Max Jacob, Pierre Reverdy, and Tristan Tzara and participated in Dada activities.

 

In 1924 Miró joined the Surrealist group. Just a year earlier, Miró, who was based between Paris and Spain, had begun work on The Tilled Field (1923) and The Hunter (Catalan Landscape) (1923–4), paintings whose fantastical, lyrical fields of uncanny references—swirling, abstract forms, floating body parts, and distorted animals—aligned closely with the concerns of the surrealist. a trip to the Netherlands in 1928 brought him to challenge the illusionistic space of Dutch Old Master painting. In the somewhat cluttered and highly abstracted Dutch Interior I (1928), Miró reinvented Hendrick Martensz Sorgh’s painting of a lute player performing for a woman and dog as a room full of biomorphic forms in a flattened space. 

 

Where other late-career artists might rest on their laurels, Miró pushed again and again into new territory. For a stretch in the 1950s he focused almost exclusively on printmaking and ceramics, and his prints were honored at the 1954 Venice Biennale, receiving the grand prize for graphic work. Personnages and Animals (1950), a color lithograph, exemplifies this foray into printmaking, where Miró’s biomorphic depictions of various people and animals in a non-naturalistic space take fittingly to the print’s flatly two-dimensional format.