• Joaquim Mir

    Barcelona 1873 – 1940

     

    Miravet

    c. 1929-30

    Oil on canvas

    86 × 112 cm

     

    Signed “J. Mir”

     

    Awards

    1894 - Third medal at the III Exposición de Bellas Artes, Barcelona

    1898 - Third medal at the IV Exposición de Bellas Artes, Barcelona

    1899 - Second prize at the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes, Madrid

    1901 - Second medal at the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes, Madrid

    1907 - First medal at the Exposición Internacional de Bellas Artes, Barcelona

    1930 - Medal of honour in recognition of his artistic career at the Exposición Nacional de Bellas Artes, Madrid

     

    Museums

    Barcelona, Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (MNAC)

    Barcelona, Museu del Modernisme Català (MMCAT)

    Montserrat, Museu de Montserrat

    Vilanova i la Geltrú, Biblioteca Museu Víctor Balaguer

    Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (MNCARS) 

    New York, Columbia University, Casa Hispánica

     

    Exhibitions

    1933 Exposición de Artistas, Pintores y Escultores Catalanes, Amsterdam

    1934 XIX Biennale Internazionale d’Arte, Venice, no. 38

    1971 Joaquín Mir, Salas de Exposiciones de la Dirección General de Bellas Artes, Madrid, cat. no. 52, rep.

    2009 Joaquim Mir, CaixaForum Barcelona, cat. no. 78, rep. pp. 149 and 172.

     

    Joaquim Mir received his basic education at the Sant Miquel School. He then furthered his studies at the School of Arts and Crafts in Barcelona (popularly known as La Llotja) and under the painters Lluís Graner and Antonio Caba. He joined the Colla del Safrà – ‘the Saffron Group’, in allusion to the saffron yellow tones of their paintings, drenched in evening light – with such renowned Catalan artists as Isidre Nonell, Ricard Canals, Ramon Pichot and Juli Vallmitjana.

     

    Between 1901 and 1905, he lived with his friend Santiago Rusiñol in Mallorca, where he met the Belgian symbolist painter William Degouve de Nuncques. During this period, his work underwent major changes as he began to focus on landscape painting. The discovery of the island’s scenery had a great influence on his artistic maturity, resulting in a unique approach to landscape painting with a certain degree of abstraction in the play of light and colour. The works he painted in Mallorca earned him the admiration of the public and the critics of the time, who valued his talent for turning nature into a display of lyricism. The influence of this period can be seen in the murals he later painted for his uncle and patron Avel·lí Trinxet in the Trinxet House in Barcelona, a masterpiece designed by the architect Josep Puig i Cadafalch which sadly no longer exists.

     

    Mir suffered from bouts of depression, which eventually forced him to leave Mallorca to enter the Pere Mata Psychiatric Institute in Reus, where he stayed for almost two years. The period that followed was most productive for Mir; he not only won first prize at the International Fine Arts Exhibition in Barcelona in 1907, but was also the subject of a major exhibition at the Fayanç Català gallery in his hometown in 1909.

     

    Because of his unique renovation of the language developed by the Impressionists, Joaquim Mir is one of the indisputable leaders of modern Catalan art. He exhibited regularly in galleries in Barcelona and Madrid, and participated in numerous competitions. He was awarded prizes throughout his artistic career, which culminated in winning the Medal of Honour at the National Fine Arts Exhibition in Madrid in 1930, where he exhibited a series of paintings created in Miravet shortly before.

     

    Miravet is a town in the province of Tarragona, in southern Catalonia, set on a wide meander of the river Ebro, a place much appreciated by artists. Joaquim Mir was one of the most important painters to dedicate some of his works to the town. During 1929 and 1930, Mir drew and painted landscapes of the surroundings of the city, looking for different perspectives. In the work we present here, he offers us a bird’s-eye view of Miravet, with its roofs culminating in the church and the river in the background. It captures the contrast of light between the foreground, with the shadows cast by the rooftops, and the landscape bathed in the late afternoon sun. Works painted by Mir in Miravet featured in the exhibition for which he won the Medal of Honour at the National Fine Arts Exhibition, Madrid, in 1930.[1] In the same year, he exhibited other landscapes of the lower Ebro region at the Sala Parés in Barcelona. Barely eight years later, in those same places Mir had painted a world of quiet and beauty, one of the bloodiest battles of the Spanish Civil War was fought.



    [1] The three landscapes of Miravet featured at the exhibition were no. 45 Noviembre (‘November’), no. 46 Fantasía del Ebro (‘Ebro Fantasy’) and no. 47 Pueblo sobre el Ebro (‘Town on the Ebro’).

     

     

     Joaquim Mir in Miravet, 1929

     

    Joaquim Mir, Miravet, 1930, oil on canvas.

    Madrid, Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía.

     

    Joaquim Mir in his studio. 

     

    Photography of Joaquim Mir. 

     

    Bibliography

    Galí, Francesc. “Joaquim Mir en la Galería Artur Ramon”, Mundo Diario, 10 July 1975, rep.

    Miralles, Francesc. Joaquim Mir al Camp de Tarragona. Barcelona: Columna, 1998, cat. no. 238, rep. pp. 149 and 202.

    Miralles, Francesc. Joaquim Mir al Camp de Tarragona. Barcelona: Viena, 2008, cat. no. 263, rep. pp. 161 and 225.