The Miró of Majorca
"Mallorca is really a beautiful country; in places it still has the freshness of the early days of creation, which is not found in the Parisian environments we visited." Joan Miró, 1948.
The phrase is signed by one of the Spanish avant-garde artists most famous abroad. There is certainly no denying the popularity of what the Germans call the seventeenth Lander (State): Majorca. But it also turns out that the two had a very special relationship.
From a Majorcan family, Miró spent his summers on the island after the age of seven. Even back then, the genius drew landscapes and historic buildings of the environment. In these years Miró established childhood bonds two places: Montroig, in Tarragona, where his wealthy parents had a farm, and the island of Majorca.
They marked him so deeply that after his first trip to Paris in 1920, where he met the surrealists, Miró wrote to his family saying: "My stay in Paris has opened up a world of ideas, and now, with the exciting tranquillity of the countryside, I can work passionately [...] my ideal, Paris and the Catalan countryside (naturally the Majorcan too)." These ties were strengthened through his marriage to the Majorcan Pilar Juncosa in 1929.
His first long stay on the island was due to the brown plague. The Nazi bombings of Paris in 1940 led him to leave the city of light and take refuge in the main island. Five years later he moved to Majorca.
There the artist fulfilled his dreams: he managed to have a proper workshop designed by an architect friend and gave up painting to focus on pottery, etching and lithography. Although his work rate fell in the move, he was able, as he himself says, of making a personal retrospective study of his work for the first time: "In the new studio [..] I could unpack [...] works made many years ago [...] When I took it all out, in Majorca, I started to criticise myself [...]. I was ruthless with myself. I tore up many canvases, and most importantly, many drawings and gouaches."
His production gradually returned to normal. He dared to make monumental works. He set up his own etching studio. He made stained glass, tapestries, he painted once more. He became involved as a costume and stage designer in several plays. On December 25, 1983 Miró died in his home at Son Abrines, in Palma de Mallorca. His foundation has its headquarters on the island and the etching studio is open to young artists to feel like Miró, that "Majorca is really a beautiful country."
(1) Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró (2,3) InfoMallorca.net
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