Miró‘s Name in Miró‘s Art (1937-69)

Joan Miró was born Joan Miró i Ferrà with two family names. He probably used the first alone for its resemblance to the Spanish verb, mirar or, in English, to look.1 Though he drew his meaningful moniker over and over again in his art, especially the first and last letters, few if any experts have ever seen them. Sometimes the middle letters are reduced to an unrecognizable scrawl or are left out altogether. In addition, as you will see shortly, he drew the accented Ó on its own to represent an "eye". Take a look.

In this painting a black M is sharply drawn near the center of the image, a small shape just beneath the yellow. The black line then meanders to the right roughly suggesting a handwritten and R before ending under the blood-red O with a black pupil in it representing his “eye”.  The end of the black line then doubles as the Ó's accent upside down, as in the Galerie Maeght poster to come. Without that poster, the accent here, perhaps even the hidden name itself, would be unrecognizable.

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Captions for image(s) above:

Miró, Souvenir de Montroig (1937)

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In Poem to the Glory of Flashes the M is written on the bottom but then the line goes off to the left, writing his name in mirror-fashion, around the image. It ends at the top, upside down, with an O and a very curly accent.

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Captions for image(s) above:

Miró, Poema a la Gloria de los Destellos (1969)

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In Femmes dans la Nuit (far left), the M is drawn in the top left corner next to a large O. The I and R may be found in other shapes around the image, like the lower-case i, dotted and doubled in mirror-writing near the lower edge. The primary O is the extra-large solar shape near the center with two linked blobs above it, resembling both a  pair of eyes and two accented Ó's joined.

In an exhibition poster (near right) he joined two eyes with a black line in a similar way, the one to our left with an accent underneath.

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Captions for image(s) above:

Left: Miró, Femmes dans la Nuit (1945)
Right: Miró, Poster for Philadelphia Exhibition (1966)

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In a sculpture (far left) Miró used the O alone with a spoon as its accent. It is also, in my view, an eye in a box, the spoon feeding substance to his brain above as though it was an optical nerve. He did something similar (near left) in another exhibition poster where the accented O, upside down, is again turned into an eye, but the accent underneath is here linked to his name.

Letter-painting was one of Miro's favorite ways of painting himself. His art, though largely abstract, is self-reflective. For other examples of how the Spanish artist was inspired by his own name, see Miró's Potato and Miró's Painting.

Captions for image(s) above:

Left: Miró, Reloj de Viento or Winding Watch (1937)
Right: Miró, Poster for Galerie Maeght Exhibition (n.d.)

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Notes:

Original Publication Date on EPPH: 15 Feb 2011. © Simon Abrahams. Articles on this site are the copyright of Simon Abrahams. To use copyrighted material in print or other media for purposes beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. Websites may link to this page without permission (please do) but may not reproduce the material on their own site without crediting Simon Abrahams and EPPH.