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Assassinator of painting. The artist who upset the establishment. Joan Miro (1893-1983) is one of the most significant Spanish painters of the twentieth century. His early work clearly shows the influence of Fauvism and Cubism. The Catalan landscape also shapes the themes and treatment of these initial works. In his travels, Miro encountered the intellectual avant-garde of his time; his friends included Francis Picabia, Tristan Tzara, Andre Masson, Jean Arp and Pablo Picasso. From the mid-twenties onward, Miro strove to leave direct objective references behind and developed the pictograms that typify his style. The pictures of this period, which include perhaps the most beautiful and significant ones of his whole oeuvre, dispense with spatiality and an unambiguous reference to objects. From then on, the surfaces were defined by numerals, writing, abstract emblems, and playful figures and creatures. The year 1944 saw the beginning of his extensive graphic oeuvre, ceramics, monumental mural works, and sculptures. In these works, too, the Catalan artist sought the solid foundation of a figurative, symbolic art with orientation as regards content: faces, stars, moons, rudimentary animal forms, letters. Joan Miro developed in several stages his characteristic flowing calligraphic style and his world of forms resembling shorthand symbols; from Fauvism to Surrealism by way of his original childlike style, Miro sought to shake up the establishment and made a name for himself in doing so. Every book in TASCHEN's "Basic Art Series" features: a detailed chronological summary of the artist's life and work, covering the cultural and historical importance of the artist; approximately 100 color illustrations with explanatory captions; and a concise biography.
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About the Author

Janis Mink studied art history at Smith College and gained her doctorate in Hamburg under Martin Warncke. She is presently a writer and curator.

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