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Joan Miró was a Catalan artist of international fame. In his native language of Catalan his given name, meaning John, has the spelling Joan and pronunciation of Zhwaun rather than Juan (Whaun) as in Spanish. The nature of Miro's art and his diminutive physical stature make him seem other worldly, almost elfen in nature. Despite the playfulness of his paintings he was a serious, hard working artist. His entry into the world of art was not easy.
Miro was born in Barcelona in 1893 (April 20, 1893) to a family whose members had been artisans whose trades were serious businesses. His father had been a watchmaker and goldsmith. His family expected him also to be a businessman. He however dropped out of high school before graduation and took courses at a commercial business school. After that he worked in an office. A life in business was insufferable for him and after two years he had a nervous breakdown.
His parents were distraught and welcomed anything that would bring their son back to physical and mental health. They approved of his attending art school in Barcelona. There he had the good fortune to have a sympathetic teacher who encouraged and pushed him into activities that developed his artist sensabilities.
In 1920 he journeyed to Paris, the cauldron then of modern art, and in 1921 moved there to be near if not a part of the Surrealistic movement. He however by 1930 he developed his own distinctive style. It was influenced by Catalan folk art as well as his study of Fauvism, Cubism and Surrealism but it was distinctively his own style of art. His international fame grew during the 1930's and in 1940 he returned to Catalonia.
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