Joan miró sculptures: Joan Miró | Moonbird | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Joan Miro Sculptures

The medium of sculpture offered Joan Miro an opportunity to produce three dimensional representations of his surrealist ideas, creating an extra avenue for him to express his renowned imagination and creativity.

The artist produced sculptures in a variety of sizes and materials, partly due to the differing needs of those commissioning the pieces as well as his own natural instinct to consistently try out new possibilities on regular occasions. Of his most famous sculptured artworks, the majority were designed to be displayed outside and many still remain so. Despite their extraordinary value, there has been no effort to bring them indoors and the public have repaid this faith by respecting them and leaving them relatively untouched. The same has been done for a number of other famous sculptors, including Henry Moore whose work continues to survive cold winter evenings in a number of British parks. The modern nature of Miro’s style has also ensured that they still work alongside the ever changing architecture that surrounds them, despite being so much older.

Joan Miro Paintings

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Joan Miro Paintings

There was previously a lack of focus on his sculptures as compared to the rest of his career but this has changed in recent years due to a number of notable exhibitions which have raised awareness of the qualities that this artist possessed as a sculptor. The same can be said for a number of other multi-skilled modern artists such as Pablo Picasso who himself was involved in ceramics, drawing and sculpture besides his hugely famous catalogue of oil paintings. There is also the additional factor of which art forms are easier to include in exhibitions, with many of his larger pieces being logistically unsuitable for movement away from their permanent locations. The increased competition to provide exhibitions which represent some of the biggest names in art has also led to a number of institutions delving into other mediums in which these artists were involved and addressing their careers from a different angle.

Miro’s work in sculpture would develop over time, with his most ambitious pieces not arriving until he was into his fifties. He would continue to work productively in this medium into his 80’s and always felt that there were new ideas and techiques to experiment with and to learn from. He was also well connected with other modern artists from across Europe over a number of decades and their creativity brought further ideas to his attention. His work across mediums grew organically where he would develop ideas and produce visual languages which could be reused on multiple occasions and sometimes repeated across different materials.

It was as early as 1946 that Miro began producing bronze sculptures for the first time. From that point onwards, he would continue to experiment and develop his knowledge in this medium right up until his death in 1983. During periods of his later life this medium would actually take precedence over his paintings which seems extraordinary considering how he still remains fundamentally remembered as an abstract painter, first and foremost. He certainly more than dabbled in sculpture, it was an exciting outlet of creativity and opportunity that he never grew tired of, despite his strong commitments to other artistic methods. He always felt sensitive about his work in mediums away from his standard paintings, and never truly considered himself established in any other areas in which he worked, despite his undoubted success and development as outlined by a number of recent exhibitions.

Large scale commissioned sculptures appeared frequently in the latter stages of artist Miro’s career, resulting from the strong reputation which he had built up over the preceding decades. Miro’s Chicago, or The Sun, the Moon and One Star as it was originally titled, continues to draw attention to Miro’s work in this medium. It sits at 12 metres tall and continues many styles found in the artist’s paintings into a more physical, multi dimensional form. Sculpture offered Miro an opportunity to experiment with all manner of media, in a way which he didn’t find with painting. Steel, wire mesh, concrete, bronze and ceramic tiles were just some of the mediums used by the artist on some of his major commissions.

Dona i Ocell

Lunar Bird

Miro’s Chicago


Pair of Lovers Playing with Almond Blossoms

Solar Bird

Grande Maternité

Miro would use seemingly value-less objects to create his sculptures, including the likes of eggs, soap bars, random scrap metal, old footballs and pebbles. The list was odd and unconnected, other than for that each was of no artistic merit or use at the point it was found by the artist. He saw possibilities that others could not and started to create consistent series of work using items such as these. This had not been done before, which is perhaps what most appealed to an artist who was famous for his rejection of the norm. The more people that would be shocked by this approach, the more he stubbornly continued. That is not to say that his work did not have merit, though, and his back catalogue of sculpture is as impressive as most famous names who specialised solely in this discipline. It also provides a stunning third dimension to his ideas that previously were restricted to canvas or paper.

Many of these items were found in and around his own studio, with the leftovers from his work in painting, sculpture and ceramics scattered across the floor. Others would also work there from time to time, adding further miscellaneous collections of discarded pieces. When taking on larger sculptures he would tend to make use of assistants in order to carry out some of the more challenging tasks and the impressive commissions that he received later in life would enable him to cover their wages without any real issue. Earlier on in his career, of course, finances were much tighter, which left restrictions on the type of work that he could produce, sometimes leaving him with no option but to return to paper, such as with his consellation series. His work as a sculptor was always several decades behind his paintings but a greater concentration on it over the last years of his life enabled it to be able to stand up in its own right, literally. Several recent exhibitions have attempted to promote Miro’s sculptures more prominently and efforts have been made by his foundation to also draw attention to it more aggressively.

The Catalan first began with sculpture in 1946, by which stage he had already been awarded his very first retrospective in New York. He would continue to learn and experiment for the rest of his life, still considering himself a youthful sculptor even by the time he was 81 years of age. It certainly breathed new air into his career, though likely he would have found another new direction if he had not taken this one, such was his ability to constantly re-invent himself. Prior to 1946, he had actually attempted some forms of sculpture but these were with great passion nor quality and some claimed they were merely extensions of his paintings rather than genuine sculptures. His curious nature would inevitably return to it two decades later, with a much more successful outcome this time. He was also more able to handle the requirements of this art form, with a greater financial strength allowing him the time, space and resources that he required.

Miro worked alongside Artigas for a number of years on ceramics and this involvement inspired Miro to cast forms in bronze for the first time. It was around the early 1940s at this time. As he began to experiment with modelling and shaping clay the artist quickly realised a joy could be derived from this very personal connection between the artist and his work which he would never find possible in other art forms. Perhaps this was the initial buzz that led sculpture to become such an important part of his artistic life, having already lived so long and not really been overly involved in it. His paintings and drawings had also taken up so much time that it would have been easy for him to consider revisiting it at a later date, just as he did. His sculptures would also be slightly different in that predominantly much of the content used in them were simply found where wandering around the Spanish and French countryside, particularly mountains and the seashore. Nature combined with a sensual touch was the inspiration for Miro over a number of decades.

Catalan culture is known to be strongly ingrained in most of its citizens – see the architecture of Gaudi for further examples of this. Miro felt close to the peasants of his own region as well as the natural landscape on which they all lived. He would later produce artworks where items of normal life were embroidered into the canvas, such as fishing nets and clothing. This was his attempt to combine the beauty of painting with the tactile feeling of embroidery. Sculpture was purpose-built for artists who went beyond just the visual and once he had included real objects from his environment, there would then be an added connection with Catalonia. He also wanted his sculptured works, particularly the larger ones, to be displayed outside and perhaps even merge into nature itself as if an organic creation themselves. Those aware of his preference for this have continued to display his work in this manner, such as at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park which itself continues to hold a strong relationship with the artist’s foundation.

The late 1970s and 1980s featured several large-scale commissions for the artist, located in major cities such as Chicago, Houston and Barcelona. These made us of bright colours that came from his earlier abstract paintings but there were other series of sculptures in much more subdued colour schemes. Much would depend on the original materials from which he was working as he would not want to lose all of the original qualities and appearance of them. Smaller sculptures would still retain the roughness of the materials which he found lying around where as his large commissioned pieces would tend to be more ‘presentable’ to the wider public, with smoother, more consistent shapes and lines. His simpler pieces were really just clever arrangements of existing objects with perhaps some additional touches of pen or paint to add some semblance of colour.

Some recent exhibitions of his work have actually placed paintings and sculptures together, where a clear link can be made. In many cases he revisited old artworks and reinvented them in a different medium. To see these displayed together is a real treat and also helps to visually explain the artist’s progression rather than adding some stale explanation to the gallery wall. Those more organically-sourced pieces tended to be truly unique and the overall sequence of sculpture produced by Joan Miro across several decades is fantastically varied, but also always true to his original roots as an artist.

Joan Miró | Moonbird | The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Joan Miró | Moonbird | The Metropolitan Museum of Art


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Joan Miró (Spanish, Barcelona 1893–1983 Palma de Mallorca)




7 1/4 × 6 1/2 × 4 1/2 in. (18.4 × 16.5 × 11.4 cm)


Credit Line:
The Pierre and Maria-Gaetana Matisse Collection, 2002

Accession Number:

Rights and Reproduction:
© 2023 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Learn more about this artwork

Timeline of Art History

Museum Publications

“Selections from the Pierre and Maria-Gaetana Matisse Collection”: The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin, v. 61, no. 4 (Spring, 2004)

The Roof Garden Commission: Alex Da Corte: As Long as the Sun Lasts

The American Matisse: The Dealer, His Artists, His Collection: The Pierre and Maria-Gaetana Matisse Collection

Related Artworks

  • By Joan Miró

  • Modern and Contemporary Art

  • Bronze
  • Copper alloy
  • Metal
  • Sculpture
  • From Europe
  • From Spain
  • From A. D. 1900–present

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Alexander Calder, Joan Miro and other artists at Christie’s sculpture auction

Despite a difficult year for the cultural sector, postponed exhibitions and canceled fairs, the life of institutions continues. In September, gallery owners and art dealers were worried that the main French FIAC fair – like many other events – would not take place this year. But during the week traditional for the fair, many significant events will take place – including the Christie’s auction, dedicated to the secret garden of the collector and art dealer Paul Chaim. First, in the space of the fashion concern Kering at the pre-auction exhibition, and then at the Christie’s auction itself on October 22, 41 sculptures from the Chaim collection were presented. The history of the secret garden La Petite Escalère began more than half a century ago, and after the death of Paul in 2006, his daughter Dominique Chaim inherited everything.

Christie’s Pre-Sale Show at Kering Headquarters

Eric Sander

Paul Chaim’s approach to collecting sets him apart from most similar collectors. According to Dominique, her father first of all “sought to create an unusual garden, and not just a collection.” Interest in Japanese culture and close ties with it inspired Paul and his wife, photographer Jeannette Leroy, to set up a picturesque garden on the banks of the Adour River, not far from Biarritz and Bayonne.

The collection began with works by artists Chaim represented in his gallery – Etienne Martin, Antoine Poncet and Augustin Cardenas. It was Paul who paved the way for many French sculptors to Japan – and organized exhibitions of Auguste Rodin, Aristide Maillol and Emile Antoine Bourdelle in several local cities at once. Rarely open to the general public, Chaim’s Garden is now temporarily displayed in the courtyard and chapel of the former Laennec hospital, the headquarters of the Kering concern, which, like the Christie’s auction house, is owned by François Pinault. The pre-auction exhibition will last from 15 to 22 October.


Christie’s Pre-Sale Show at Kering Headquarters

Eric Sander

Although the outlook for the art market was very disappointing in the first half of the year and many galleries failed to cover losses, Pierre Martin-Vivier, vice president of Christie’s France, also notes positive consequences. “The art market continues to attract a large number of buyers – there have been no fundamental changes, except for the complete absence of events,” he says. “Already, two important changes can be noted: print catalogs will gradually disappear, and online sales will skyrocket.”

According to Martin-Vivier, Christie’s plans to move 50% of its sales online over the next two years and is already seeing positive results. “At the May web auction of works by Jean Arp, which took place online, we managed to sell absolutely all the works,” continues Pierre. “Deliveries around the world are sent in the same way as before – except with full compliance with current sanitary measures.”

Christie’s pre-sale exhibition at Kering headquarters

Eric Sander


Here are five of the works from the upcoming auction that most collectors and garden owners can only dream of.

Joan Miro. “Bird’s tenderness”, 1967

estimate: 4 6 million euros

The Spanish sculptor Joan Miro created “Bird’s tenderness” in 1967 in three copies, and for Paul Chaim he made an additional author’s copy. The first version of the sculpture was made by the artist from improvised materials and was soon destroyed, then Miro developed another version – in bronze. Experts call the sculpture a “totem of female sexuality” – everyday objects that are used as molds for casting in bronze are easily visible in it: a toilet seat, an ironing board, soccer balls, a straw hat.

Joan Miro. “Bird tenderness”, 1967

Zhao Wuji. Untitled, 1984

estimate: 1 2 million euros

In the late 1970s, Paul Chaim went to see Dominique de Menil, wife of the famous de Menil collectors who commissioned the famous Rothko abstract chapel. Near the house where their collection was kept, Chaim saw a mosaic that reminded him of Monet’s Water Lilies. Subsequently, the artist and friend of Paul Zhao Wuji created a similar composition in a monumental size of more than seven meters, which took the artist several years to complete.

Zhao Wuji. Untitled, 1984

Augustine Cardenas. Untitled, 1966

estimate: 40000 60000 euro


  • 9022 sculptor Augustine Cardenas was the beginning of the collection of Paul Chaim – he was one of the first artists, with with whom Haim collaborated as an art dealer and subsequently became friends. Cardenas moved to Paris in 1955 and continued to develop in his works the traditions of the sculptors of the beginning of the century – Constantin Brancusi and Jean Arp, expressing sensuality and sexuality through abstract forms of marble and bronze. Today, Cardenas’ works are in museum collections around the world.

    Augustine Cardenas. Untitled, 1966

    Mosaic after sketches by Fernand Leger “Women with Parrots”, 1952

    estimate: 200000 300000 euros

    La Petite Escalère. It was the sculptures Leger Chaim tried to show abroad as often as possible. In the early 1960s, after Fernand’s death, his wife Nadia wanted to expand the artist’s museum in Biot: Chaim then introduced her to the American collector Otto Gerson, with whom they conceived the production of bronze and ceramic copies.

    Mosaic after designs by Fernand Léger “Women with Parrots”, 1952

    Alexander Calder. Red Rudders, 1967

    estimate: 2 3 million euros

    Calder’s “Red Rudders” is set in motion by the power of the wind: his symphony can be today to hear in the courtyard of the Kering concern. For Chaim’s picturesque garden, a similar work by Calder was an indispensable item in the collection. For the first time, Calder presented his movable sculptures, mobiles, at a joint exhibition with Marcel Duchamp at 1932 year. The work from the Chaim collection was created in 1967 and belongs to the late period of the artist, when he created massive sculptures – now the most important collectors from different countries adorn their gardens with them.

    Alexander Calder. “Red rudders”, 1967



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    What is TEO and how to buy art there 365 days a year

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    Joan Miro. Naive surrealism, born in the soul of a cheerful Catalan who looks at the world as his continuation | Publications

    “After rock art, nothing great has been created in the visual arts. ” Juan Miro, failed accountant

    So, about rock art. The oldest examples of
    Europe – they are about 40 thousand years old – are a point, a palm print and
    image of a female pussy. That is, roughly speaking, the very first European
    artists valued misunderstanding, self-presentation and obscenity in art. Now you
    see what a rich tradition they have
    square”, antics
    and naked
    Well, what about the fact that since those gray times nothing great has been created, Miro
    (1893-1983), of course, turned down. He loved shockingly cheer up the information field,
    what is there *. As for misunderstanding, self-presentation and obscenity – this
    enough in his work. You will see for yourself.

    It is strange that Miro-dad, jeweler, blacksmith’s son and grandson
    furniture manufacturer – i.e. representative of a family tradition associated with
    art – I wanted to determine Miro-son on the accounting line. You will, says
    him, all his life to count the numbers. Although the son is most of all just drawing
    was interested. Because of this terrible family despotism, Miro the young man had to
    graduate from some trade college and even work a little by profession.
    True, dad allowed him to study in parallel at the Barcelona Academy of Fine Arts.
    arts, where shortly before that he had gained his mind
    Irresolvable conflict between scores and palette resolved thanks to typhus – Miro
    was ill for a long time, and then for a long time remained weakened and could not regularly
    draw up a standard calculation according to current standards. In general, spat
    daddy and allowed his son to become a famous artist.

    Miro also studied at a private art school in
    Barcelona, ​​made pictures and in 1917 arranged his first personal meeting. He
    fielded sixty plus mostly
    works – for Barcelona it was cool then – but he didn’t sell a single one – for
    Barcelona it was still too cool.

    Portrait of Enrico Ricard

    But Miro did not become sad, but continued to work. As usual
    with artists early in their careers, his style changed rapidly. Miro joined
    period of poetic realism.

    A garden with a donkey

    Cart tracks

    In essence, these were already completely independent works,
    which guaranteed Miro a place in the history of Spanish art. Poetic
    this realism is achieved due to the large number of small details painted
    albeit generalized and decorative, but carefully and with love. This is reminiscent of work
    masters of the Northern Renaissance, which are also meticulously and lovingly listed
    all the little things that together make up the universe – after all, each of these
    God created the little things, therefore, it is beautiful, and it cannot be neglected in any way.
    At the same time, it is clear that Miro, as befits an avant-garde artist, loves first of all
    not a natural trifle observed in nature, but the one that he has in the picture –
    painfully, she is conditional, intricate and well integrated into the decorative
    organized plane. This is an abundance of small and well-placed trifles.
    for a long time will become one of the important formative principles in the work of Miro. How
    and a naive childish view of the world.

    Well, and then Miro, again, as befits an avant-garde artist,
    went to Paris, where he met with the lands of Picasso and fell under the spell for a while

    Still life with rabbit

    Standing nude
    – this is a very peculiar cubism. Well, yes, there are several points of view, there are
    lines of force in space. But the abundance of the same details (in “Rabbit”), color
    gamma and set of objects are not cubist at all. Roosters were not kept in cubism.
    But, God bless him, with cubism, he, by that time, by 1923-24 years old, was no longer
    relevant. Surrealism loomed on the horizon.

    In those days, Miró rented a workshop in the Montparnasse district, on
    Blome street. The neighbor was Andre, who was intuitively advancing towards surrealism.
    Masson. Miro was moving there. Here are his characteristic works of that period:

    Plowed land

    Catalan landscape
    like Tristan Tzara and Pierre Reverdy. Well, still hanging out there, say Henry
    Miller and E. Hemingway, but this is beside the point. And here’s what’s often there
    Antonin Artaud, Paul Eluard, Robert Desnos and Jean Dubuffet stayed, refers. Well,
    and it is clear what kind of conversations there were, with such and such an audience. Psychoanalysis,
    subconscious, unconscious, this, that, figo-mine, archetype-shmarchetype. And then there
    Breton appeared and gave these conversations a solid methodological basis and
    theoretical justification. He also bought a few works by Miro, which was more
    what is relevant – Miro, then, mainly ate dates. Soon appeared
    the first manifesto of surrealism, and Miró was among its signatories. “Miro is the most
    a great surrealist among us,” Breton said at the time.

    Surrealism is still associated in the mass consciousness
    But the fact of the matter is that Miro’s abstract works in places are to the same extent
    represent surrealism, as the works of Dali. Well, how much can you say?
    Everything, I repeat for the last time, I will not do it again.

    A dog barking at the moon

    Harlequin Carnival

    A man throwing a stone at a bird
    about everything and draw, only draw, surrender to this pure automatism, to
    to which I tirelessly call, the value and deep motivation of which Miro, as
    I suspect I checked it myself, only very cursorily. It is possible that he
    will be considered the most surreal of us all,” Breton said, and
    he needs to believe.

    Miro’s surrealism was born in that part of the unconscious where
    there are childhood and primitive experiences – they are very close and similar. How
    ontogenesis and phylogenesis are close and similar – such pictures as Miro’s could
    write / draw and children, and people of the Neolithic. Only, unlike others
    surrealists, with Miro these experiences are almost always positive. Here are rare
    negative examples:

    A man and a woman in front of a pile of shit

    Still life with an old shoe

    These works were made by him during the Spanish civil
    war, which justifies their negativity. “Still life” is generally amazing –
    it is clear that it goes back to the vanitas genre, in which iconographically necessarily
    skull image. Here, instead of a skull, there is an old shoe, but everything is clear.

    Secrets and constellations. Love for a woman

    Outside of these exceptions, Peace is peaceful and bright. His
    works are inhabited by some kind of biomorphic grotesque formations, which
    funny, vital and self-sufficient. You can also say about them that they are –
    archetypal, as if they are in our subconscious and carry in themselves, as it were,
    the original symbolism of life, fertilization, birth and development. But not death.
    They live in some kind of space, which, thanks to the openness of the composition
    seems to be endless, vigorously and noisily moving and amazing
    way do not collide. In general, despite the sufficient population density on
    square centimeter of canvas, Miro’s works look very harmonious and
    balanced. Such well organized chaos. A bit like work
    And according to the general madness of fantasy, they resemble the architecture of fellow countryman Miro Antonio

    as you already know – you read my text about him – it tells about the true
    freedom that lives in the unconscious. In Miro’s presentation, this freedom is
    incompleteness, movement, harmony and beauty, despite all the ambiguity
    the address at which it is registered.

    Miró made his main works in 1920-30s. Later he
    becomes more concise.

    Lark’s wing, reuniting with the golden-blue heart of a sleeping poppy
    diamond-studded meadow

    Here I would very much like to say that visual conciseness
    Miro compensates with verbal profusion, but that would be wrong.
    Surrealism has always been distinguished by its penchant for such multi-storey names.

    In 1954 Miró received a prize at the Venice Biennale.
    Breton, completely in the Robespierre style of the Sturm und Drang era, excommunicated him from
    surrealism, stating, not without reason, that surrealism should be in
    confrontation with this stupid and bestial world and, of course, they will not be rewarded
    Maybe. Miro, and previously not particularly involved in the violent socio-political
    life of the surrealists, was not particularly saddened. He continued to work.

    Like many who are aging and have worked hard all their lives
    avant-gardists, Miro begins to go beyond painting into ceramics, sculpture and
    monumental art. I will show here only his sculptures, otherwise
    a lot of pictures.

    Great motherhood

    Two fantastic characters
    Self-presentation here – in the form of an easily recognizable style (obscenity and incomprehension –
    clear where).



    One of Miro’s most famous works from 1922. Was purchased in
    installments to the beggar then Ernest Hemingway. In Soviet times, I saw her on
    cover of the English edition of J. Orwell’s anti-Soviet book Animal Farm.
    What does it have to do with Orwell, still do not understand.

    Blue star

    at Sotheby’s for £23.6m, setting a new record
    on grandmas for the works of Miro.

    In 1928 Miro traveled to Holland and visited local museums.
    After that, he made several remakes of the works of the Dutch of the 17th century.