Working Thesis: The Catalan struggle and Spanish Civil War greatly influenced Joan MirÃÂ³'s art; MirÃÂ³'s techniques of forceful strokes with paint and ceramics enable MirÃÂ³ to express his feelings and depict the Catalan people's struggle through art.
Surrealism in the 1920s was defined as a fantastic arrangement of materials that influenced MirÃÂ³, due to the fact that he was one of the most original and sympathetic artists during the Surrealism periods. MirÃÂ³ was born into the Catalan culture in April 20,1893 in Barcelona, Spain (Munro 288). Having to be born into the Catalan culture gave MirÃÂ³ an opportunity to have an intense nationalist activity. In which much attention was paid not only to political expressions of the need for autonomy, but also to the re-Catalanizing of every day life (Higdon 1).
"It was necessary to fight so that Catalan, our language might be recognized as a cultural language" ("MirÃÂ³"). In 1910 MirÃÂ³'s parents bought a masia which is a sort of traditional farmstead of Catalonia, where the family has its roots on the paternal side.
MirÃÂ³ described the masia in his painting The Farm of 1921-1922 (Figure1). Clement Greenburg a close friend of MirÃÂ³ who is also a critic, said that MirÃÂ³'s art is based on ideas "of painting as an irrevocable two dimensional medium" (Munro 289).
Greenburg also stated "MirÃÂ³ is known for his almost total lack of interest in political matters" (Munro 289). The only thing that really kept MirÃÂ³ interested was his people and their culture. What really shot MirÃÂ³ down was the Spanish Civil War, he stated that "I am not in favor of separatism. I am in favor for Spanish unity, European unity, and World unity." He believed that they should be able to celebrate their myths, and abide by their own laws (Higdon 1).
Being Catalan was pretty hard on MirÃÂ³ as well as his people and their culture. For one, the government tried to shut them out or at least make them in to a Spanish-speaking country. Yet the Catalans had to push on their struggle for freedom. MirÃÂ³ used his paintings to show his urge for unity, and wanted his people to have the right to practice their customs (Munro 288). He was extremely devoted to his people and their aspirations. He wanted to bring out Catalan traditions as well as their language (Higdon 2).
MirÃÂ³ career in art was sort of brought on by destiny. In 1911 he enrolled at a design art school, taught by a man named Frances GalÃÂ. GalÃÂ was extremely strict and straightforward. His art was basically drawn in the form of a picture. Yet when he saw MirÃÂ³'s art he realized true potential and realized that MirÃÂ³'s use of paint strokes and use of two-dimensional shapes were unique.
In 1914 MirÃÂ³ painted a man wearing a Catalan "liberty cap." (Higdon2) After MirÃÂ³ had completed small amount of his paintings they were brought to Barcelona for their safe keeping. Such as the Montroig, the Church and the Village (Figure 2), The Farm (Figure 1), Still Life with Old Shoe (Figure 3), and Women in the Night (Figure 4), When MirÃÂ³ moved to Paris in the 1920s he experienced a wide variety of changes in one year, he had then moved from "naÃÂ¯ve" of The Farm to the startlingly spare abstraction of the Hunter.
After his experience with Paris, which only lasted for a couple of months, he went back to Barcelona until the beginning of the Spanish Civil War in 1932. MirÃÂ³ began to show his anger in his art by drawing wild paintings. The spaces left between his artwork were occupied with monstrous figures, and flesh that are bruised or infected with diseases (Higdon 3). From these new forms of tensions are savagely animated due to the struggle of his people as well as the Spanish Civil War.
MirÃÂ³ also enjoyed painting his work to connect like stars to kind of form constellations. He did this by letting his shapes overlap, and coloring only the flat surfaced areas. Some people tried to relate his art toward taboo due to his colors representing the different areas of Spain. Yet in 1977, MirÃÂ³ was asked to design the official poster for Catalonia (Figure 5). MirÃÂ³ lived to see the success of that campaign and thought it to be among the greatest rewards of his life (Higdon 5). MirÃÂ³ died in Palma, Majorca, Spain December 25, 1983.
I. Higdon, Elizabeth. Joan MirÃÂ³. New York: Rizzoli International, 1993.
II. "MirÃÂ³, Joan." The Book of Art. New York: Grolier Inc. 1976.101.
III. MirÃÂ³, Joan. The Farm. National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
Joan MirÃÂ³ 1921-1922. By Elizabeth Higdon. New York: Rizzoli International, 1993. Color Plate 1.
IV. MirÃÂ³, Joan. Montriog, the Church and the Village.
Private collection. Joan MirÃÂ³: 1919. By Elizabeth Higdon.
New York: Rizzoli: International, 1993. Color Plate 2.
V. MirÃÂ³, Joan. Still Life with Old Shoe. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Joan MirÃÂ³: Jan. 24-May 29 1937. By Elizabeth Higdon.
New York: Rizzoli: International, 1993. Color Plate 9.
VI. MirÃÂ³, Joan. Women in the Night. Private collection. Joan MirÃÂ³:1946. By Elizabeth Higdon. New York: Rizzoli: International, 1993.
VII. Munro, Eleanor C. "MirÃÂ³, Joan." The Encyclopedia of Art. New York: Golden Press, 1965. 288, 299.