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February 18, 2004
To us, the Mercury Fountain by Alexander Calder was a mesmerizing highlight. We stood transfixed before "Flowing Metal" for about five minutes, watching the mercury slip-sliding its pathways. Set apart, encased in its own windowed area that also showcases the beautiful greenery and city view in its background, the fountain rivets your attention by its sheer audacious artistry. Next, you encounter a giant primary color wall tapestry Miro executed during the latter phase of his life as he explored new materials and new media in attempts to simplify his art and convey it more directly to viewers. Wow! Like the Mercury Fountain, the tapestry exerts instant, dramatic effect.
Miro donated the bulk of this collection from works he composed during his long self-imposed exile in France while Franco ruled Spain, so many of my favorites, ones he painted in earlier years, are not here. But, a retrospective collection that is drawn from all periods of his life is on the second floor. This part of the collection is on rather extended loan from the largest private collector of his work, Kazumasa Katsuta. Here, many of the sculptures are especially impressive, for Miro mastered more than just painting. What is most striking about Miro was his continual growth as an artist and his willingness to experiment and change, as well as his consistent return to meaningful symbols for him: woman, bird, and constellations.
The building was designed by Sert, his fellow artist and friend, and is remarkably white and open to light and to its green surroundings, along with panoramic views of the city. On the top floor terrace, views are exceptional. Sculpture abounds here, as well as on the grounds that encircle the Fundacio. Personally, I feel the Fundacio’s strength is in its sculpture collection simply because many of his finest paintings were no longer his to donate when he was setting up this museum.
Fortunately, we left the museum around noon just as two large busloads of tour groups descended upon it. We had enjoyed being able to stroll around it for a couple of hours when it was not congested. Even in "off-season," try to visit popular museums early or late to avoid throngs of tourists.
From journal Bittersweet Barcelona -- Treasures
Cinnaminson, New Jersey
August 9, 2003
The foundation occupies a two-story building that was built in 1975 and reminds of the building of Foundation Maeght on the French Riviera with white outside walls, exotic roof design and large windows giving the building great lighting perfect for showing works of art.
This museum has a very large collection of Miro’s surrealistic art - paintings, tapestries and statues, which are exhibited inside the building and on the roof. The most famous of Miro’s works are here, most of them donated by the artist himself.
When you enter the first thing you see is a large tapestry with red, yellow, blue and green colors that takes up the whole wall. Miro became interested in tapestries in the late 1970’s and his inspiration came from Catalan tapestries to which he added his own inventive way of looking at things. He would leave some threads cut and hanging on the side or use different weaving techniques or he would add objects that don’t usually belong to a tapestry like ropes, buckets and umbrellas that you can see in some of his other tapestries.
The majority of the works in the collection of Fundacio Joan Miro are from 1960’s-1970’s. Here you can see some of the most famous of his works like his "Self-portrait" with bold black strokes defining the contour of the figure, or the series in the so-called "letter" paintings which are considered pure symbolism, the amazing model for "La Defense" that looks like two unearthly but very friendly creatures, and of course his famous paintings with blue background like "Woman, Bird, Star" or "Personages, Bird, Star" that you can see in every catalog. Then there are paintings like "Woman in the Night" with bright yellow, green, red, purple and black defining the images on the canvas and making them three-dimensional and almost mythical and "The Gold of the Azure" which made me remember the bright yellow sun and beautiful blue sea of the French Riviera.
And of course who can forget the surrealist statues on the roof painted in the so typical to Miro bright colors of yellow, green, red, blue – the statues that don’t look like anything that you’ve ever seen before, and everybody who looks at them may find his or her own associations with these figures. Also here from the roof you can get a magnificent view of the city since the museum is located high on the hill.
On the first floor near the ticket office there is a bookshop where you can buy some postcards or books, a café and a contemporary art library. Photography is allowed without flash.
From journal Travels to Spain - Barcelona, Part II