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Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Joan Miro at Tate Modern

Joan Miro's work has moved me since I was a child; every year my family visit the Fondation Maeght in the south of France and I have always admired his wonderful sculptures which are a permanent fixture of the gallery garden. They are bright but with a distinctly serene air. I was thrilled to find Tate Modern hosting a retrospective of Miro’s work, especially as I have not had the pleasure of seeing many of his early paintings or works on paper.

Miro was born in Barcelona in 1893 and grew up in this exciting, modern city with a strong sense of his Catalan identity. I was intrigued to discover that this sense was the reason he insisted upon using ‘Joan’ rather than ‘Juan’, a first name that now seems oddly feminine.

This collection of works shows Miro to be a true surrealist, pretty much throughout his long artistic career. I noticed obvious similarities to Dali and to Picasso, who was apparently his hero. Miro established his style very early on, and stuck with it, often the stylistic developments came from changes in his surroundings or the political climate. Though they can appear blissfully simple, playful and abstract, there is often a complex logic behind his work.

I found the room of Constellation pictures particularly enchanting. They are a group of works painted between 1940 and 1941. Miro uses gouache, watercolour and ink to create a cosmic and dreamy effect; I was so fascinated by the combination of materials I felt eager to immediately try the mix myself. They are contemplative images that reflect Miro’s escapist tendency at a time of war and unease.

As the show continues we see pieces that are more expressive and free. Two rooms contain bold colour field triptychs that contrast dramatically with the earlier intricate paintings. The final room's display demonstrates his diverse experimentation, and despite being well into his eighties we see an explosive creative energy.

Tate Modern's show seems appropriate for the fast approaching summer season: bright colours and magical shapes, it has an overriding feeling of optimism.

Joan Miro exhibition continues until 11 September, book here.


  1. amazing exhibition!i read that this exhibition will come to spain after england!^^

  2. I was at an auction and his works was amazing.