100 Years Ago, Joan Miró Held His First Art Show—and It Was a Disaster

Joan Miro Park West Gallery

Joan Miro artwork at Park West Museum

Artworks by Joan Miró are found in museum collections around the world. You might expect, then, that his artistic debut in 1918 was highly regarded.

It wasn’t.

2018 marks the 100th anniversary of Miró’s first-ever solo exhibition—a show that didn’t go as the artist planned.

In 1916, Miró frequented the Dalmau gallery in Barcelona. He had just finished his studies at the Francesc Galí’s Escola d’Art the year before and was interested in Cubist and Dadaist works. Miró eventually met with the gallery’s owner, José Dalmau, who also worked as an art dealer.

joan miro self portrait

“Self Portrait” (1917), Joan Miro. (Public domain. Image courtesy of wikiart)

Dalmau showed an interest in Miró’s work and encouraged him. He made the artist an intriguing offer—he would host Miró’s first solo exhibition at his Barcelona gallery in February 1918.

Unfortunately, the exhibition was a disaster. Critics and the public alike ridiculed and even damaged Miró’s art, and he didn’t sell a single painting.

One can imagine how the budding artist felt. Miró had previously abandoned a career in business after suffering a nervous breakdown and, to the disappointment of his father, chose the path of art. This had been Miró’s chance to prove he could be successful as an artist.

Joan Miró (1935). Courtesy of Wiki Commons/Library of Congress.

Joan Miró (1935). Courtesy of Wiki Commons/Library of Congress.

Instead of breaking down and quitting his craft, the frustrated artist moved to Paris in 1920 to seek out new inspiration.

“Definitely never again Barcelona,” Miró had said. “Paris and the countryside until I die.”

 

Parisian Influences

While in Paris, Miró met fellow Spanish artist Pablo Picasso. The famous artist helped introduce Miró to Paris’ avant-garde society. Miró surrounded himself with emerging poets, writers, and other artists, all of whom influenced his style.

Joan Miro the Farm

“The Farm” (1921), Joan Miro (Image courtesy of Jari Jakonen)

In 1921, Dalmau gave Miró another chance, organizing Miró’s first Paris exhibition at the Galerie la Licorne. This time around, Miró received more positive acclaim. He began experimenting with surrealism in 1922, and in 1923, Salon d’Automne included Miró’s art in its annual exhibition.

“L’Adorateur de Soleil” (1969), Joan Miró

Miró began associating with the Surrealists in 1924, which inspired his pictorial sign language that became central to his artwork. His 1925 solo exhibition at the Galerie Pierre in Paris served as a herald to the first Surrealist exhibition, “La Peinture surrealiste,” held at Galerie Pierre that same year. The show included works by Miró and Picasso.

Miró went on to create 2,000 paintings, 500 sculptures, 400 ceramic objects, 5,000 drawings, and more than 1,000 different lithographic editions during his career. Major museums located in cities such as New York, London, Paris, and Madrid have featured his art in career retrospectives, both before and after his death in 1983.

Needless to say, Miró came a long way from that doomed Barcelona exhibition held a century ago this year.

The Joan Miró Gallery at Park West Museum

The Joan Miró Gallery at Park West Museum

Among the institutions displaying Miró’s art is Park West Museum in Southfield, Michigan. The museum houses a number of Miró’s innovative lithographs that demonstrate why, in 1954, the artist won the Grand Prize for Graphic Work at the Venice Biennale.

To collect the art of Joan Miró, contact our gallery consultants at (800) 521-9654 ext. 4 or sales@parkwestgallery.com.

Leave a comment

Prove you\'re human. *

Latest News

  • How Wyland Became One of the World’s Biggest Marine Wildlife Artists

    As an artist, Wyland is used to working on big canvases.He first rose to fame in the 1980s painting life-size murals of whales—that’s right, life-size whales—on the sides of ...
    Read More
  • Park West’s Latest Artist Videos Attract More Than 3 Million Views, Win 3...

    There is nothing quite like watching a master artist at work and,. as it turns out, our collectors—and the filmmaking industry—agree.In 2017, Park West Gallery launched a new series of ...
    Read More
  • Matt Beyrer, Peter Max, Picasso, and More Shine in Park West’s 2018 Summer...

    Now that summer’s almost here, couldn’t you use a little more color in your life? Brighten things up with a new work of art from Park West’s 2018 Summer ...
    Read More
  • Behind the Artist: Anatoly Metlan

    Artist Anatoly Metlan is inspired by the world, so in turn, he inspires the world with art that celebrates its beauty and cultures.Born in 1964 in Yalta, a Ukrainian ...
    Read More
  • Why Animation Art is One of the Most Important Art Forms of the...

    Animation art is beloved around the world, but, if we’re being honest, it’s also underappreciated.How is that possible? How can it be adored and taken for granted at the same ...
    Read More
  • Norwegian Cruise Line’s Newest Ship Sets Sail with Unforgettable Wyland Art

    The launch of a new cruise ship is always a big deal, but the debut of Norwegian Bliss is shaping up to be an event no one will ever forget.Norwegian ...
    Read More
  • 11 Pino Artworks That Will Make You Want to Hug Your Mother

    There’s something indescribable about moms. They exude a calm comfort, this sense of maternal caring and nurturing. Even those of us with moms who are more inclined to chase us ...
    Read More
  • May 11 Is a Surprisingly Significant Day in Art History—Here’s Why

     If you Google “what happened in history on May 11,” you’ll find a lot of interesting tidbits.May 11 is the day that Alexander became Emperor of the Byzantine Empire, Christopher ...
    Read More
  • Park West CEO Albert Scaglione on the Art Market’s Obsession with Picasso

    More than 40 years after his death, Pablo Picasso continues to make headlines, and it seems like the public’s fascination with the Spanish artist is only growing.Picasso is currently the ...
    Read More
  • Shedding Light on 4 Works of Art by Thomas Kinkade

    Thomas Kinkade was one of the most collected living contemporary artists until his passing, and for good reason—he sought to enrich the lives of others with beautiful imagery that ...
    Read More
  • Michael Godard: Rocking the Art World

     At first glance, you might think Michael Godard is a rock musician.With his ...
    Read More
  • Auctioneer Spotlight: Alan Ridderhof

    Alan Ridderhof believes that land-based life isn’t for him. As a celebrated auctioneer with Park West, that’s a good thing. Alan loves the lifestyle that comes with working at sea, but more than anything, he loves connecting people with the perfect work of art. While cruise ship life has no shortage of challenges, Alan opts to turn them all into opportunities. This is his story.

    Read More