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Front Cover – Joan Miró Portrait of a Spanish Dancer 1921 Musée Picasso, Paris

 

 

When we think of Miró we imagine those blobby spiky doodles in the manner of Klee and Kandinsky (see back cover). But before that he had a primitive period of which the Spanish Dancer is an example. “Folk art never fails to move me” he said “It’s free of deception and artifice. It goes straight to the heart of things”. He arrived in Paris in 1919 and set up in crumbling insanitary building at 45 rue Blomet. He remembered the persistent lice, the beautiful lilac in the courtyard and the “horrible concierge, a real witch and very nasty”. In 1924 he attended Surrealist meetings with André Breton. He had his first show in America in 1930 and in 1934 made his first paintings on sandpaper. At the fall of France he was in Varengeville on the Normandy coast. After failing to get on a boat to America he returned to Spain taking refuge in Majorca.

“At this time I was very depressed. I believed in an inevitable victory of Nazism, and that all we love and that gives our reason for living was sunk forever in the abyss. I believed that in this defeat there was no further hope for us, and had the idea of expressing this mood and this anguish by drawing the signs and forms of which I had to be delivered on the sand so that the waves could carry them away instantly, or by making shapes and arabesques projected in the air as cigarette smoke, which would go up and caress the stars, fleeing from the stench and decay of a world built by Hitler and his friends”

In 1956 after a period in USA he returned to Majorca where he lived a solitary life spending long hours alone in his studio. He criticised Picasso’s mania for publicity and his habit of surrounding himself with mediocre people.