The Joan Miró Foundation (in Catalan, Fundació Joan Miró) is one of the most important art museums in Catalonia. Created in 1975 by Joan Miró himself and his friend Joan Prats, the foundation has become an important center for research and dissemination of modern and contemporary art, offering scholarships and promoting the work of artists from the 20th and 21st centuries.
This art gallery has a vast number of works from the private collections of its founders, including paintings, sculptures, textiles, ceramics, drawings, and sketches. And its location on the famous Montjuïc hill makes the Joan Miró Foundation one of the most visited attractions in Barcelona!
So, do you want to know more about the Joan Miró Foundation: Best Tips For Visiting In 2024? Keep reading!
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- Brief History of the Joan Miró Foundation
- What to See at the Joan Miró Foundation
- "Retrat d'una vaileta" (Ground floor, Gallery 1)
- "Autoretrat" (Ground floor, Gallery 1)
- "Pintura (El guant blanc)" (Ground floor, Gallery 2)
- "L'or de l'atzur" (Ground floor, Gallery 3)
- "Home i dona davant d'un munt d'excrements" (Ground floor, Gallery 4)
- "L'étoile matinale" (Ground floor, Gallery 4)
- "Estudi per a un monument ofert a la ciutat de Barcelona (LLuna, sol i una estrella)" (Ground floor, North Patio)
- "Tapís de la Fundació" (Ground floor, Gallery 11)
- "Couple d'amoureux aux jeux de fleurs d'amandier. Maquette de l'ensemble sculptural de La Défense, Paris" (Ground floor, Gallery 12)
- "La Caresse d'un oiseau" (First floor, Terrace)
- Practical Guide to the Joan Miró Foundation
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Brief History of the Joan Miró Foundation
In 1968, Joan Miró had the idea of creating a space entirely dedicated to the investigation and exhibition of modern and contemporary art. And to materialize this project, the Catalan artist brought together some of his closest friends who were also linked to the arts, such as Joan Prats (art promoter), Josep Lluis Sert (the architect who designed the Joan Miró Foundation building), and Joaquim Gomis (photographer and the first director of the institution).
After choosing the privileged location in the Parc de Montjuïc, the Joan Miró Foundation opened to the public on June 10th, 1975, with dozens of works by Joan Miró donated by himself and by Pilar Juncosa (his wife), Joan Prats, and Josep Lluis Sert. Since then, the collection has continued to grow, thanks to contributions and loans from various art dealers and collectors.
What to See at the Joan Miró Foundation
As I mentioned in the introduction, the vast majority of the Joan Miró Foundation’s collection consists of works by its founder. In total, the museum has 217 paintings, 178 sculptures, 9 textiles, 4 ceramics, 8000 drawings, and almost all of Joan Miró’s graphic work. And these are spread over two floors of exhibition rooms, corridors, and terraces.
“Retrat d’una vaileta” (Ground floor, Gallery 1)
This “Portrait of a young girl” dates from 1919 and was donated to the Joan Miró Foundation by Joan Prats.
The previous year, Joan Miró spent the summer in Mont-roig del Camp (a small village in the province of Tarragona), in his family country house.
Inspired by the surrounding rural environment, the artist began to redefine his style, abandoning the current of Fauvism (which had previously influenced him), while adopting more earthy tones and focusing his attention on details.
The girl in this oil-on-paper-on-canvas portrait was the caretaker’s daughter and was only five years old when she posed for Joan Miró.
“Autoretrat” (Ground floor, Gallery 1)
This double and superimposed “Self-portrait” was made in oil and pencil on canvas, in two completely different moments of Joan Miró’s life.
The first is a pencil drawing begun in 1937, where the detailed features of the artist’s face blend in with characteristic symbols of his personal universe.
The second one dates from 1960 and corresponds to a very “radical” update of the original self-portrait. This time, Joan Miró applied thick and bold strokes, reminiscent of graffiti!
In the 1960s, Joan Miró renewed his style again by simplifying his language, influenced by North American Abstract Expressionism.
“Pintura (El guant blanc)” (Ground floor, Gallery 2)
In this oil on canvas painting from 1925, Joan Miró combined a monochromatic background in shades of blue with three schematic figures and with an almost “childish” line.
“Painting (The white glove)” belongs to a series of oneiric and vague works in which the artist renounced descriptive details and eliminated all spatial references, attributes that had marked his previous paintings.
At that time, Joan Miró was experimenting with the aesthetics of the surrealist movement and had just met some of its most illustrious representatives (including André Breton, author of the “Surrealist Manifesto”), in the city of Paris.
“L’or de l’atzur” (Ground floor, Gallery 3)
“The gold of the azure” is one of the acrylic paintings on canvas, which were directly inspired by Joan Miró’s trip to Japan, in the autumn of 1966.
The artist visited the cities of Tokyo and Kyoto, where he exhibited more than 170 of his works (including paintings, sculptures, ceramics, and prints).
During this trip to the “Land of the Rising Sun”, Joan Miró met local artists and deepened his knowledge of oriental culture – something that had always fascinated him.
In this 1967 painting, you can see a stroke based on oriental calligraphy, as well as a carefully thought-out title, which looks more like the name of a haiku poem!
“Home i dona davant d’un munt d’excrements” (Ground floor, Gallery 4)
“Man and woman in front of a pile of excrement” is the most notable of a series of fifteen paintings, which Joan Miró himself dubbed “wild paintings”.
The two protagonists were portrayed with misshapen and exaggerated features, especially concerning the upper limbs.
As for the landscape, it’s barren, gloomy, and almost “apocalyptic”, in a clear allusion to the delicate political situation lived in Spain.
Joan Miró made this work in 1935, a year before the Spanish Civil War broke out. Interestingly, the atmosphere portrayed here is one of anguish, tension, instability, and pessimism – a premonition of the imminent armed conflict!
“L’étoile matinale” (Ground floor, Gallery 4)
“The morning star” is probably the best-known masterpiece of “Constellations” (a series of twenty-three paintings in gouache, oil, and pastel on paper, ten of which were made in the French village of Varengeville-sur-Mer, other ten in Palma de Mallorca, and the remaining three in Mont-roig del Camp).
A few weeks before World War II began, Joan Miró moved with his family to Varengeville-sur-Mer, in Normandy.
In his new coastal retreat, the artist underwent a process of seclusion and introspection, which resulted in the adoption of a softer and more poetic style, cutting with the aggressiveness of his “wild paintings”
Conceived between January 1940 and September 1941, the “Constellations” series features symbols that were already common in his works (such as stars, birds, and women). Only this time, the figures and patches of color fill the entire space of the canvas, through a complex web of lines!
“Estudi per a un monument ofert a la ciutat de Barcelona (LLuna, sol i una estrella)” (Ground floor, North Patio)
This bronze and painted cement sculpture is, in fact, a model of a 30-meter figure idealized for Parc Cervantes (in Barcelona), which Joan Miró never got to execute.
Its full name is “Study for a monument offered to the city of Barcelona (Moon, sun and one star)”. However, for obvious reasons, it’s better known as “Moon, sun and one star”.
Conceived in 1968, this is one of around five hundred sculptures signed by the Catalan artist. Joan Miró began experimenting with sculpture during his surrealist phase but became more prolific in this three-dimensional art in the 1960s.
“Tapís de la Fundació” (Ground floor, Gallery 11)
This colossal tapestry measuring 7.5 meters high and 5 meters wide was created specifically for this space in the Joan Miró Foundation, in 1979.
By combining and superimposing wool with three types of natural fibers (jute, hemp, and cotton), the artist designed one of his most characteristic pictorial images – a woman gazing at the sky – but on a “canvas” completely different from the usual.
Joan Miró started producing textiles in 1972, in collaboration with the Catalan artisan Josep Royo. And their first experiences together were called “sobreteixims”, as they were a mixture of painting, collage, and tapestry.
“Couple d’amoureux aux jeux de fleurs d’amandier. Maquette de l’ensemble sculptural de La Défense, Paris” (Ground floor, Gallery 12)
Gallery number twelve of the Joan Miró Foundation is popularly called the Sculpture Gallery, due to the large number of this type of works of art that are exhibited here.
Dating back to the year 1975, “Pair of lovers playing with almond blossoms. Model for the sculptural group at La Défense, Paris” is one of them and also the largest, at 3 meters high.
This piece was the model used for a monumental sculpture installed in the commercial district of La Défense, in the French capital.
Created in painted synthetic resin, the sculpture features organic shapes, varied textures, and vivid colors.
“La Caresse d’un oiseau” (First floor, Terrace)
The last must-see work of art in this guide about the Joan Miró Foundation is called “The Caress of a Bird” and is located on the roof terrace of the museum. It may not seem like it, but this 1967 piece is a humorous and poetic representation of a kind of “fertility goddess totem”.
Like other of his sculptures, Joan Miró created this figure using “objets trouvés” (literally, “found objects”) – a concept much defended by the Dada movement. Here, banal everyday items such as a straw hat or an ironing board have been painted in bronze and turned into a masterpiece!
Practical Guide to the Joan Miró Foundation
In my opinion, the easiest way to get to the Joan Miró Foundation is by metro. To do this, just take the L1 or L3 lines to Plaça d’Espanya station and then walk about 1.5 km to the museum building. This walking route takes close to 25 minutes, which may seem a little time-consuming at first. But the monuments that you’ll see along the way are really photogenic!
1. Choose the Right Day
The Joan Miró Foundation is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10 am to 6 pm (from November to March) or from 10 am to 7 pm (from April to October), with the ticket office closing thirty minutes before closing time. In other words, you should avoid visiting the Parc de Montjuïc on Mondays, because the Joan Miró Foundation and the National Art Museum of Catalonia are closed!
2. Decide between the Various Types of Tickets
The Joan Miró Foundation offers various types of tickets, depending on the interests of its visitors. For example, the general ticket costs €13 (regular rate) or €7 (reduced rate for students aged 15 to 30 years old and seniors over 65 years old), and gives access to both the Joan Miró collection and the temporary exhibition.
If you just want to visit the temporary exhibition, you can buy a ticket for €7 or €5. There’s also a specific ticket for the “Espai 13” (a space for the promotion of new talents), which costs €3 or €2. Or, you can opt for the “Articket BCN” – a single pass at €35, to the 6 best art museums in Barcelona:
- CCCB: Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (or CCCB – Center of Contemporary Culture of Barcelona)
- Fundació Antoni Tàpies (or Antoni Tàpies Foundation)
- Fundació Joan Miró (or Joan Miró Foundation)
- MACBA – Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona (or MACBA – Museum of Contemporary Art of Barcelona)
- MNAC – Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (or MNAC – National Art Museum of Catalonia)
- Museu Picasso de Barcelona (or Picasso Museum in Barcelona)
TIP: Did you know that entry is free for Barcelona Card holders and children under 15 years old? In any case, don’t forget to confirm all prices and ticket types on the Joan Miró Foundation’s official website, before making your purchase!
3. Plan a Whole Day in Montjuïc
Montjuïc hill became world-famous for having hosted the 1929 Barcelona International Exposition and the 1992 Summer Olympics. So why not dedicate a whole day to discovering this historic area with such a rich cultural heritage? In the vicinity of the Joan Miró Foundation, you can visit dozens of museums, monuments, gardens, and other points of interest, such as:
- Anella Olímpica (or Olympic Ring)
- CaixaForum Barcelona
- Castell de Montjuïc (or Montjuïc Castle)
- Estadi Olimpic Lluís Companys (or Lluís Companys Olympic Stadium)
- Font Màgica (or Magic Fountain)
- Jardí Botànic de Barcelona (or Botanical Garden of Barcelona)
- Jardins de Joan Brossa (or Joan Brossa Gardens)
- Jardins de Joan Maragall (or Joan Maragall Gardens)
- Jardins de Laribal (or Laribal Gardens)
- Jardins de Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer (or Mossèn Cinto Verdaguer Gardens)
- MNAC – Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya (or MNAC – National Art Museum of Catalonia)
- Museu Etnològic de Barcelona (or Ethnological Museum of Barcelona)
- Pavelló Alemany – Fundació Mies van der Rohe (or German Pavilion – Mies van der Rohe Fountain)
- Poble Espanyol
- Teatre Grec (or Greek Theater)
- Telefèric de Montjuïc (or Montjuïc Cable Car)
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