Birthplace of Miró’s art to open to public
The idyllic summer farmhouse is inaugurated in honor of the artist’s 125th birthday on April 20, showing where much of his art and artistic process came from
Learning about an artist by visiting a museum is miles away from visiting the rooms, surfaces, walls on which much of the art itself was created. And for the first time, the Mas Miró house, cradle of not only Joan Miró’s work but much of his artistic process, is being inaugurated on April 20 – just in time for the artist’s 125th birthday. Visits will begin on May 2 until November, costing 8 euros.
“The cathedral” of Miró’s work
Despite Miró’s work being ubiquitous throughout the city of Barcelona, many might not know how much he valued the outdoors and the Catalan countryside. He especially had ties with the family farmhouse Mas Miró, in the village Mont-roig del Camp, just inland of southern beachside Tarragona, where he lived in the summer.
"For Miró, this was the cathedral, it was a spiritual exercise, of introspection, of contact with the earth”
Joan Punyet Miró · Miró's grandson
Miró’s grandson, Joan Punyet Miró, said that “for Miró, this was the cathedral, it was a spiritual exercise, of introspection, of contact with the earth.” It originally belonged to the Miró family, acquired by the painter’s mother in 1911. In 2006, it was declared a Cultural Asset of National Interest. Efforts to restore the house go back to 2010, but it’s only in 2013 that the Fundació Mas Miró was established to that aim.
‘Miró’s emotional landscape’ route
The house will be restored little by little, unveiling a new part each time works are completed. Further restorations include the interior of the house and the staff quarters, hopefully to host performances and screenings, and will be carried out during the low season.
The aforementioned Fundació, as well, has created a route called ‘Miró’s emotional landscape,’ which will take viewers on a journey through six spaces in the town where one can admire for themselves the panoramas the artist used for his paintings. “All my work was conceived at Mont-roig,” said Miró in an interview.
A 1976 calendar on the wall
And where Miró’s work was born has, according to the artist’s grandson, remained “frozen” in time. This can be seen by a 1976 calendar on the workshop wall, untouched from when Miró worked in the space for the last time. In fact, visitors can still see painting materials, sketches, and even graffiti on the wall, drawn by Miró himself to help map out his ideas.
“Opening this studio is a fact of international relevance,” noted Punyet Miró, who added that there’s a lack of visitable workspaces for other great artists such as, for example, Picasso. In this first restoration, along with the workshop visitors can also see the dining room, Miró’s first workshop, and various bedrooms, among others. The corral has been repurposed as a welcome space, and what was once a hen house now grows ecological crops like watermelons, beans, and broccoli.
‘The Farm,’ by Miró
Mas Miró itself is a sprawling, but low, white colonial-style creation, the picture itself of summer, surrounded by lush vegetation, palm trees, and shrubs, to a backdrop of the oft-blue Catalan sky. This, along with Barcelona, Paris, and Mallorca, is where Miró spent his life: he was in Mont-roig every summer, except during his exile in France.
When the artist was alive, Mas Miró was a meeting space for the greatest minds of the time, including names like Ernest Hemingway, Vassili Kandinski, Alexander Calder and Josep Lluís Sert. Art-lovers might recognize it from Miró’s iconic work ‘The Farm,’ owned by the Hemingways themselves (Ernest bought it as a gift for his wife Hadley). Currently, it’s at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, the United States.
In fact, ‘The Farm’ was started on site in 1921 and finished in Paris in 1922. In the final stages, though, Miró realized that he was unable to complete the work without a physical connection to the Catalan land he loved so much. As a solution, he would have flowers and herbs sent to him from Mont-roig.
“From this triangle, my art was born”
Joan Miró (Barcelona, 1893 - Palma, 1983) was a Catalan sculptor, painter, ceramicist, and more, and one of the 20th century’s most celebrated artists. His work primarily belongs to the surrealism movement – an era in his career conceived at Mas Miró, in fact – focusing on the wanderings and workings of the subconscious mind. Miró’s art in particular also recreated childlike aspects and displayed a certain Catalan pride. Part of his work also revolves around disdain for conventional art forms.
While Miró eventually moved to the island of Mallorca in 1956, he continued spending summers in the house in southern Catalonia until 1976, just four years before his death. He is quoted as having proclaimed “Mallorca, Barcelona, and Mont-roig configured my personality. From this triangle, my art was born.” Inasmuch, the The Fundació Mas Miró joins other organizations dedicated to the artist, such as the Fundació Joan Miró in Barcelona and the Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró in Mallorca.