For the last 20 years of his life, Spanish painter Joan Miro (1893-1983) found a home on the island of Mallorca, where he could unpack and relate to his earlier paintings that had been packed away during World War II and after.
He lived through …
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“Miro: Instinct and Imagination” will be exhibited at the Denver Art Museum until June 28. It is included with regular admission. See denverartmuseum.org. An exhibition catalog, published by Yale University Press, is available in the museum gift shop.
He lived through difficult times — the Spanish Civil War, World War II throughout Europe and Franco's 40-year dictatorship in Spain, which the artist opposed.
In Palma, Mallorca, he was able to paint again and to create a number of highly original cast bronze sculptures, which often incorporated items he had collected on the beach.
“I painted in a frenzy, so that people will know that I am alive,” he said.
It is this energetic, late-in-life work — about 50 pieces created between 1963 and 1981 — which make up the bright, witty “Joan Miro: Instinct and Imagination.”
The new exhibit runs through June 28 in the Gallagher Family Gallery on level one of the Denver Art Museum's Hamilton Building.
Gwen Chanzit, curator of modern and contemporary art at the DAM, spoke at a press preview about the artist's inclination to carry home found objects and incorporate them into his sculptures: mixing spoons, fondue forks, metal forms, old doll parts and more went into assemblages that were cast in bronze by the lost wax method.
“Keep looking,” Chazit advised — there are extra stars and other objects to be found on the backs of the sculptures.
The Miro exhibit is organized by the Seattle Art Museum and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid. It has been shown at the Seattle Art Museum and the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.
While his painting style is well known worldwide, Miro's sculptures have rarely traveled outside of Europe.
He was born in Barcelona and started art classes at an early age. In 1920, he went to Paris, where artists from across the world were working and exchanging ideas. He started painting in Surrealist style and created a number of prints.
His work was very influential on the American Abstract Expressionists who were working in New York after World War II — and on artists worldwide.
Visitors can look for favorite images in paintings and sculptures: women, birds, stars, for example — and children will be delighted by the whimsy and bright colors.
Allow time to watch the short, three-minute video at the back of the gallery, “Miro: Theatre of Dreams,” to see him manipulate thick strokes of paint with a brush and with his fingers — straight from the tube.
A related seminar on May 7 is called “Creative Aging.” There will also be related creative activities in the studio across the hall from the Gallagher Family Gallery. Check denverartmuseum.org for information.
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