city in space - locations

Fundación Joan Miró

Anyone who wants an overview of Joan Miró's (1893-1983) work can ascend the Montjuïc and visit the Foundation that one of the most famous Catalonian artist opened in 1971. It contains more than 5,000 drawings, 217 canvases, paper, wood and other materials, 153 sculptures, 9 textile works and all the graphics by this extremely prolific artist. The museum was built by Josep Lluís Sert, a friend of Miró. From 1987 to 1988 it was extended by the architect Jaume Freixa, very much in the spirit of Sert's architectural principles. The rooms have a striking simplicity, based on a clear ground-plan and balanced proportions. The cubic forms and the shiny white concrete have a Mediterranean feel to them; a square patio forms the centre and includes various sections of the building: museum, gallery, library, shops, restaurant with garden terrace, and several more rooms as well. On three levels, broad passageways lead around the centrally located inner courtyard, and an unobstructed panoramic view across Barcelona connects the collection with the city. Indirect natural light facilitates viewing of the artworks on display - indeed, this is a very good place to look at the originals in a new light. The results are more than surprising, because the work of Miró - like that of Matisse or Picasso - has been disfigured by a flood of reproductions on calendars, postcards, coffee mugs, T-shirts and so on that have rendered his large-format, powerfully- coloured, superficially naive figures harmless - a veritable triumph of art merchandising.