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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
Email: [email protected] / Phone: +44 7429 011000

Joan Miro was an enthusiastic, out spoken artist whose quotes have been influential and inspiring. He was confident and opinionated, focusing most of his views on the artistic world and how the future of it should look.

This was an artist who wrote regularly to his friends and colleagues as his family moved around Europe. This has helped us to uncover large amounts of information about his life and opinions, often detailing specific details about particular artworks. Those involved in surrealist artwork leave trails of evidence to help us understand better the different elements of their compositions and the intended meanings left by the artist.

The same can be said for Dali, who also regularly discussed the symbolism and imagination found in his own paintings. Miro provided glossaries alongside some of his paintings which identified the abstract elements in his scenes and these, combined with his own letters and spoken words, have helped us to get a good understanding about the various visual languages that he produced and then repeated across several series of paintings.

Famous Quotes by Joan Miro

A form gives me an idea, this idea evokes another form, and everything culminates in figures, animals, and things I had no way of foreseeing in advance.

For me an object is something living. This cigarette or this box of matches contains a secret life much more intense than that of certain human beings.

I begin my paintings because something jolts me away from reality. This shock can be caused by a little thread that comes loose from the canvas, a drop of water that falls, the fingerprint my thumb leaves on the shiny surface of this table.

I feel the need of attaining the maximum of intensity with the minimum of means. It is this which has led me to give my painting a character of even greater bareness.

In a painting, you should be able to discover new things each time you look at it. For me, a painting must give off sparks. It must dazzle like the beauty of a woman or a poem.

In my opinion, mastering freedom means mastering simplicity. Then, at most, a line, a color, is enough to make the picture.

I only use the objects I find. I gather them altogether in my studio, which is very large. I lay the objects all around on the floor and choose this or that one. I never make sculptures from sketches, I just put them together.

I painted in a frenzy, with real violence so that people will know that I am alive, that I’m breathing, that I still have a few more places to go. I’m heading in new directions.

I think of my studio as a vegetable garden, where things follow their natural course. They grow, they ripen. You have to graft. You have to water.

I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.

It's the young people who interest me, and not the old dodos. If I go on working, it's for the year 2000, and for the people of tomorrow.

I work in a state of passion, transported. When I begin a canvas, I’m obeying a physical impulse, the need to throw myself; it’s like a physical outlet.

My characters have undergone the same process of simplification as the colors. Now that they have been simplified, they appear more human and alive than if they had been represented in all their details.

My figures underwent the same simplification as my colors. Simplified as they are, they are more human and more alive than they would be if represented in all their detail. Represented in detail, they would lose their imaginary quality, which enhances everything.

Sculpture must stand in the open air, in the middle of nature.

The older I get and the more I master the medium, the more I return to my earliest experiences. I think that at the end of my life I will recover all the force of my childhood.

The spectacle of the sky overwhelms me. I am overwhelmed when I see a crescent moon or the sun in an immense sky. In my paintings there are often tiny forms in vast empty spaces. Empty spaces, empty horizons, empty plains – everything that has been stripped bare has always made a strong impression on me.

The works must be conceived with fire in the soul but executed with clinical coolness.

Throughout the time in which I am working on a canvas I can feel how I am beginning to love it, with that love which is born of slow comprehension.

What I am looking for... is an immobile movement, something which would be the equivalent of what is called the eloquence of silence, or what St. John of the Cross, I think it was, described with the term 'mute music'.

What is very important for me is when I work without working….when I walk, when I do nothing, when I eat. When ideas come to me like that... when it bubbles in my head and in my mind this is what has an enormous importance.

When I stand in front of a canvas, I never know what I’m going to do – and nobody is more surprised than I at what comes out.

Yes, it took me just a moment to draw this line with the brush. But it took me months, perhaps even years, of reflection to form the idea.

Quotes about Joan Miro by Art Historians and Fellow Artists

Miro came of age as an artist just at the time World War 1. ended. With the end of the war came the end of all the new pre-war art conceptions. A young painter could not start as a Cubist or a Futurist, and Dada was the only manifestation at the moment. Miro began by painting farm scenes from the countryside of Barcelona, his native land.. .A few years later he came to Paris [circa 1914] and found himself among the Dadaists who were, at that time, transmuting into Surrealism. In spite of this contact Miró kept aloof from any direct influence and showed a series of canvases in which form submitted to strong colouring expressed a new two-dimensional cosmogony, in no way related to abstraction.

Marcel Duchamp

I've been touched, in the work of Miró and Pollock, by a Surrealist – by Surrealist I mean 'associative' – quality. It's what comes through in association after your eye has experienced the surface as a great picture; it is incidental but can be enriching.

Helen Frankenthaler