Joan Miro Le Lezard aux Plumes d'Or, Plate X
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Joan Miro was born April 20, 1893 in Barcelona, Spain. Like Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Salvador Dali, Miro is one of the great pioneers of twentieth-century art. Miro began drawing at a young age, and his choice of subjects -tufts of grass, insects, birds- revealed an early affinity for the organic. Though based on his observations of nature, his works were abstractions, and bridged the gap between realistic and abstract imagery.
The Surrealist concept of automatism (allowing the subconscious to dictate visual forms) helped to drive Miro's imagination throughout his career. As a result he produced vivid biomorphic imagery. Miro also identified strongly with the Surrealist poets, and collaborated with them on many artists books, to which he would contribute illustrations.
In the 1960s, Miro devoted more time to printmaking, creating lithographs, etchings and aquatints. Miro was attracted to printmaking and sculpture as a respite from the solitary nature of painting, and as an opportunity to work together printers and other artisans. These experiences enhanced Miro's own creative repertoire. For instance, one notices the caligraphic nature of Miro's Femme dans la nuit ('Woman in the Night'), a wax crayona dn watercolor composition from 1967-1971, which could easily have been conceived as a study for a lithograph, despite its size and being of mixed-media.
Miro recognized an advantage in printmaking, stating: "A painting is a unique example for a single collector. But if I pull seventy-five examples, I increase by seventy-five times the number of people who can own a work of mine. I increase the reach of my message seventy-five times." Miro died on December 25,1983, in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.