Thursday, June 29, 2017


8 x 10"
oil on panel

This is how most people look at a painting by Joan Miro.  A bit puzzled maybe.

The Spanish painter, born in 1893, lived a long life until the age of 90 - which meant he lived as a painter and sculptor through many art movements of the 20th century - surrealism, dadaism, fauvism, magical realism, experimentalism and modernism.  Miro expressed contempt for conventional painting methods as a way of supporting bourgeois society, famously declaring an 'assassination of painting' in favor of upsetting the visual elements of established painting'.  Add Joan Miro to the long list of artists who were sent off to a private school and sooned decided they wanted to be a painter rather than what their father wanted them to be.

Miro's painting above is titled Personages with Star.  You might ask what is a personage.  According to Miro, after hunger-induced hallucinations, he began a series of 'dream paintings', exploring surrealism, including what he called enigmatic signs or personages - based on real things but in his own form.  The man was unique.

Like his mentor, Pablo Picasso, Miro was deeply involved in politics.  In a 1936 interview, with the Spanish civil war looming, he spoke of the need to 'resist all societies... if the aim is to impose their demands on us.  The word 'freedom' has meaning for me and I will defend it at any cost.'  When asked about the death of General Franco in 1975 and what he had done to promote opposition to the Spanish dictator who ruled for nearly 40 years, he answered 'free and violent things.'  

From the Art Institute of Chicago, a woman closely studying Joan Miro's Personages with Star.

Please click here for a larger view.

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