If the name Joan Miró doesn’t ring a bell, I’m sure his work will look familiar. The Catalan artist, a contemporary of Picasso, inspired a generation of artists with his whimsical interpretation of the world through simple shapes and colors. The graphic vocabulary of his paintings, tapestries and sculptures also became a visual identity for Catalonia, where his artwork can be seen in public parks as well as museums.
Over time I’ve come to appreciate Miró’s genius much more than I did when I was a kid growing up in Barcelona (Red and blue and yellow stars? I can paint that! I thought.) I was quite excited when I found out about the exhibit that opens Thursday at the Seattle Art Museum.
“Miró: The Experience of Seeing,” which is up through May 26, includes about 50 paintings and sculptures from the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid. These are works Miró produced between 1963 and 1981, the last two decades of his life. It’s Miró’s “definitive work,” said the Spanish curator who guided a tour for the press at SAM this morning.
To see this exhibit in Seattle is like a getting a taste of my hometown of Barcelona without having to make the 15-hour flight. If you want to learn more about Catalonia’s most universal artist, this is a rare opportunity to see some of his best pieces up close.