Barcelona is a charming city which managed to produce and foster many important artists from all domains from music, painting, architecture, writing and so on. When it comes to discussing painting however, the first to come in mind should be Joan Miro, one of the most influential abstract artists. In his full name Joan Miro i Ferra, this painter was born in the Catalan city of Barcelona, in 1893; he died at the age of 90, in 1983. Why an abstract artist like him was so influential was also due to the fact that he dabbled in ceramics and sculpture as well, not just painting.
It seems like destiny worked in favor of this abstract artist, who was born and raised on the narrow and mysterious streets of Barri Gotic of Barcelona, the Gothic neighborhood with buildings dating back to the Roman Empire. Thus, Miro had a different outlook on life since the beginning, and he immediately found a means of expressing that through drawing, at the age of seven. He studied through most of his youth, but when his paintings were ridiculed and even defaced by colleagues, he decided to move to Paris, where the Montparnasse art community was already established and discussing the principles of the Cubism he was interested in and influenced by.
Thus, Joan Miro had moved to Paris in 1920, and there he was in direct contact with Cubism and Surrealism; and although he lived and worked in France for years, this abstract artist kept returning to his beloved Catalonia, which never left him forget his nationalist ideals. It was at his parents’ farm in Mont-roig that he truly started to find a unique identity and a symbolism that would transcend his work all his life. Moreover, the symbolic language that he created at the farm would influence other painters for the decades to come as well. This didn’t stop him from constantly experimenting and trying new methods of painting, such as the grattage which he pioneered, and which he executed by troweling pigment on the canvas.
The life of an abstract artist can be complicated, because you have trouble explaining your art when it is innovative and relies on a unique and new language. Miro had to tackle all that, plus living in hard and complicated times; he lived through the First and the Second World War, he had to hide and avoid going back to his country during the Spanish Civil War, and he had to find a home away from home. Yet with all that, he managed to become one of the most influential abstract artists, leaving his mark upon other famous artists such as Robert Motherwell, Alexander Calder, Arshile Gorky, Mark Rothko or Jackson Pollock.