The Life and Times of Joan Miró

“The outer world, the world of contemporary events, always has an influence on the painter…The forms expressed by the individual who is part of society must reveal the movement of a soul trying to escape the reality of the present… in order to approach new realities, to offer other men the possibility of rising above the present.” –Joan Miró, 1939

Use this interactive timeline to learn more about Miró’s personal life, career, and the global events that helped shape him and his generation. ;xNLx;;xNLx;Instructions;xNLx;;xNLx;1. Firmly touch the timeline ruler at the bottom of the screen to navigate to the year you would like to explore.;xNLx;;xNLx;2. To learn more about a particular event, firmly touch that event panel to enlarge it. ;xNLx;;xNLx;Note: Miró’s life events are contained in brown panels. Global events are contained in red panels. ;xNLx;;xNLx;3. A lightbox will appear that contains more information about that event.;xNLx;;xNLx;Note: If there is a photo in the event lightbox, you can zoom in on it by rolling over the image, then pressing on the magnifying glass icon in the upper right hand corner of the image. To close an event lightbox and go back to the timeline, press on the “X” in the upper right hand corner of the lightbox.

1893-02-01 00:00:00

Joan Miró is born in Barcelona

Joan Miró is born in Barcelona, the capital of Catalonia, a region near the northeastern coast of Spain. With a distinct history, language and culture dating back to the early middle ages, Catalonia has been part of Spain since the 15th century. A campaign for political autonomy began in the 19th century, which started a revival of the Catalan language and a renewed sense of a Catalan identity. Spain became a republic in 1931 and Catalonia was given broad autonomy until the dictatorship of Francisco Franco following the Spanish Civil War in 1939. Under Franco’s rule, Catalonia lost its autonomy and the use of the Catalan language was restricted. As the industrial center of Spain, Catalonia again gained greater autonomy following the death of General Franco in 1975.

1907-02-01 00:00:00

Miró commences studies in Barcelona

At 14, Miró studies at the Barcelona school of Commerce but also takes classes at La Llotja School of Fine Art.

1914-02-01 00:00:00

World War I

World War I. Spain remains neutral during the conflict.

1915-02-01 00:00:00

Miró joins the military

Miró undergoes mandatory military service in Barcelona until 1917.

1917-02-01 00:00:00

Miró waxes poetic

Miró develops a strong interest in poetry and begins reading avant-garde Catalan and French literary journals.

1918-02-01 00:00:00

Miró establishes the Courbet group

Founds the Courbet group with Barcelona artists Albert Ràfols-Casamada, Francesc Domingo, and others. The group is named after the French painter Gustave Courbet, in homage to Courbet’s dedication to realism and his revolutionary stance.

1920-02-01 00:00:00

Miró makes a trip to Paris

Despite financial difficulties, Miró makes his first trip to Paris, France, where he encounters diverse artistic communities first hand and meets Pablo Picasso, whom he greatly admires.

1921-02-01 00:00:00

Miró joins the Parisian literary scene

Miró moves to a studio in rue Blomet, Paris, where his neighbor is the artist André Mason. A gathering place for leading poets and artists, he is introduced to the poets and writers Max Jacob, Michael Leiris, Robert Desnos, Paul Éluard, and later, André Breton. He immerses himself in the literary scene, which opens entirely new creative possibilities to him.

1921-02-01 00:00:00

Miró begins 'The Farm'

Spends the summer at the family farm in Montroig, Spain where he begins The Farm, then finishes in the winter of 1922 at the rue Blomet studio. The painting is later purchased by Ernest Hemingway.

1925-02-01 00:00:00

'La Peinture Surrealiste' exhibition is held

The exhibition La Peinture Surrealiste is held at Galerie Pierre in Paris Paris and includes work by Miró, Masson, Man Ray, and others.

1926-02-01 00:00:00

International Exhibition of Modern Art

Miró’s work is included at the International Exhibition of Modern Art in New York. Organized by the Société Anonyme, which was founded by Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray and Katherine Dreier, it is the first time his work is shown in the U.S.

1928-02-01 00:00:00

Miró distances himself from Surrealism

As André Breton begins to develop a strict theoretical framework for Surrealism, Miró, an individualist at heart, begins to distance himself from the group. He starts to break from his early spare paintings and re-examines collage techniques, embarking on a series of small assemblages made of found materials, Miró’s first sculptural works.

1929-02-01 00:00:00

Miró gets married

Miró marries Pilar Juncosa in Palma de Mallorca at the age of 36.

1929-02-01 00:00:00

MoMA opens in NYC

The Museum of Modern Art is established in New York City.

1931-02-01 00:00:00

Miró becomes a father

Miró’s daughter María Dolores is born.

1931-02-01 00:00:00

Political change in Spain

Spain becomes a republic and Catalonia is given broad autonomy. The overall political situation becomes increasingly polarized between left- and right-wing forces.

1936-02-01 00:00:00

Spanish Civil War begins

•General Francisco Franco launches a military coup to oust the elected government, marking the beginning of the Spanish Civil War. With the support of Hitler and Mussolini, Franco manages to control large parts of Spain.

1936-02-01 00:00:00

Miró leaves Spain

Because of the political turmoil in Spain, Miró moves to Paris with his latest work in October. He remains in the French capital until 1940, when he relocates back to Spain following the Nazi bombing of Normandy, France.

1937-02-01 00:00:00

German planes bomb Guernica

The Basque region is a stronghold of the opposition to Franco and, in April 1937, German planes bomb the village of Guernica.

1937-02-01 00:00:00

The Republican Pavilion

Miró collaborates in the decoration of the Spanish Republican Pavilion at the Paris Universal Exposition. The Pavilion was designed by Catalan architect Josep Lluís Sert, and Miró’s mural, The Reaper (Catalan Peasant in Revolt), is shown in the pavilion next to Pablo Picasso's Guernica. Sert, Picasso, and Miró all participate in the Republican Pavilion as a form of political protest against Franco’s regime.

1939-02-01 00:00:00

Catalonia falls to Franco

Catalonia falls to the Franco dictatorship. Catalan autonomy is revoked and Catalan nationalism suppressed, as thousands of Catalan activists are executed or go into exile.

1939-02-01 00:00:00

World War II

World War II: The Spanish State under General Franco is not militarily engaged and maintains an ambiguous neutrality.

1940-02-01 00:00:00

First Miró monograph published in Tokyo

The Japanese writer Shuzo Takiguchi writes the first Miró monograph, published in Tokyo.

1941-02-01 00:00:00

Miró’s first retrospective at MoMA

Miró’s first retrospective at The Museum of Modern Art – a year after Picasso is given a retrospective – is tantamount to a political statement against the Franco regime. Miró cannot travel to see the show.

1946-02-01 00:00:00

Miró creates his first sculptures

Miró begins making ceramics in collaboration with the Catalan ceramic artist Llorens Artigas, and also creates his first bronze sculptures.

1949-02-01 00:00:00

NATO established

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is established by 12 Western nations: the U.S., Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg, Norway, Iceland, Canada, and Portugal. The military alliance provides for a collective self-defense against Soviet aggression and greatly increases American influence in Europe.

1954-02-01 00:00:00

Miró participates in the 27th Venice Biennale

Miró participates in the 27th Venice Biennale, the most important and longest-running international art fair in the world, where he is honored with the Grand Prize for Engraving.

1955-02-01 00:00:00

Miró at the first Documenta in Germany

Miró is included at the first Documenta in Kassel, Germany, an in-depth survey exhibition of the pre-war avant-garde which enables German and European audiences to see many artists and movements for the first time since Hitler took power. It is a massive undertaking with 570 works by 148 European artists presented.

1956-02-01 00:00:00

Miró moves into his new, modernist studio

Miró moves into his new, modernist studio on the island of Mallorca, designed by Josep Lluís Sert, where he gathers and unpacks all the work that had been in storage in different places during the war.

1959-02-01 00:00:00

Miró receives award at the White House

President Eisenhower presents Miró with the Guggenheim International Award at the White House. Miró creates a ceramic mural for the UNESCO building in Paris.

1959-02-01 00:00:00

Castro seizes power in Cuba

Castro seizes power in Cuba after leading a guerilla campaign that ousted dictator Fulgencio Batista. The event intensifies Cold War tensions between the U.S. and the Soviet Union as the U.S. withdraws support of Castro’s Marxist government.

1963-02-01 00:00:00

MLK gives his "I Have a Dream" speech

Martin Luther King delivers his “I Have a Dream” speech.

1963-02-01 00:00:00

John F. Kennedy is assassinated

President John F. Kennedy is assassinated.

1964-02-01 00:00:00

Miró continues sculpting and has a retrospective

Inauguration of Maeght Foundation, designed by the architect Joseph Lluís Sert, in St.-Paul-de-Vence, France, for which Miró produces new sculptures and designs the garden – called “Le Labyrinth” – in collaboration with ceramic artist Llorens Artigas. Miró has a retrospective at the Tate Gallery, London, which travels to the Kunsthaus, Zürich.

1964-02-01 00:00:00

The Civil Rights Act passes in the U.S.

The Civil Rights Act passes in the U.S.

1965-02-01 00:00:00

Miró travels to the U.S.

Miró travels to the U.S. to visit New York and Chicago.

1965-02-01 00:00:00

Spain experiences a major increase in tourism

The number of foreign visitors in Spain rises from four million in 1960 to fourteen million in 1965.

1965-02-01 00:00:00

U.S. troops enter Vietnam

American combat troops enter Vietnam

1966-02-01 00:00:00

Riots rock Madrid

Prompted by the closure of several faculties of Madrid University, 2000 students and workers violently clash with police in a protest against General Franco’s fascist regime.

1966-02-02 00:00:00

Miró builds sculptures using found materials

Miró begins to build sculptures using found materials that are then cast in bronze. The casts are made at the Parellada foundry in Barcelona, as well as foundries in Paris, Bagneux, and Verona. Miró creates his first monumental bronzes.

1966-02-22 01:55:29

Miró has retrospective and explores calligraphy in Tokyo

Miró travels to Japan for the first time for his retrospective at the National Museum of Art, Tokyo, and explores Japanese calligraphy.

1967-02-01 00:00:00

Miró installs ceramic mural at the Guggenheim

Awarded the Carnegie International Grand Prize for Painting. In collaboration with artist Llorens Artigas, installs ceramic mural Alicia at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, in homage to the wife of Harry F. Guggenheim, president of the Guggenheim Foundation.

1968-02-01 00:00:00

Miró's 75th birthday & exhibition Dada

Miró retrospective at Maeght Foundation in celebration of the artist’s 75th birthday. Included in exhibition Dada, Surrealism and their Heritage at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; exhibition travels to Chicago and Los Angeles.

1968-02-01 00:00:00

Violent student protests rage in Europe

May 1968: Violent student protests in Paris, Berlin and other European cities challenge governments and policies. Miró paints the canvas May 1968 in direct reference to these events.

1968-02-01 00:00:00

Robert Kennedy is assassinated

Robert Kennedy is assassinated.

1969-02-01 00:00:00

Filmmaker Portabella makes a Miró film

Filmmaker Pere Portabella produces two films for an exhibition at the Collegi d’Arquitectes de Catalunya in Barcelona. The first, Miró l’altre (Miró the Other), documents Miró’s creation—and subsequent destruction—of several paintings on the windows of the building. For more information on the political nature of this project, see the filmmaker’s interview in our exhibition catalogue: Miró: The Experience of Seeing. Portabella’s second film, Miró aidez l’Espagne (Miró Helps Spain), juxtaposes documentary footage from the Spanish Civil War with prints from Miró’s series, Barcelona (1939–44).

1969-02-01 00:00:00

First man steps on the moon

Neil Armstrong is the first man on the moon

1970-02-01 00:00:00

Miró celebrated abroad; protests Franco at home

During the 1970s, Miró is celebrated with many international exhibitions and receives commissions and awards. Creates ceramic murals and water garden for the Japanese Gas Pavilion at the Osaka World’s Fair. December 12: Joins 300 other Catalan artists and intellectuals in a sit-in protest at the Monastery of Montserrat against the death sentences of six members of ETA (the Basque separatist group) in Burgos, northern Spain, and in opposition to Franco’s authoritarian dictatorship of Spain.

1971-02-02 00:00:00

Miró's first sculpture exhibition in the U.S.

Miró Sculptures, the first exhibition of Miró’s sculpture in the U.S., opens at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; exhibition travels to Cleveland and Chicago.

1972-02-01 00:00:00

Miró collaborates and has a retrospective

Begins collaboration with artist Josep Royo on series of woven pieces, blending tapestry, collage, and painting. The retrospective Joan Miró: Magnetic Fields is mounted by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York.

The Life and Times of Joan Miró

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