Joan Miró, ‘Lithographie Originale I from "Miro Lithographs IV, Maeght Publisher"’, 1981, David Barnett Gallery

Joan Miró—the Surrealist famous for his biomorphic and abstract paintings—was also a prolific printmaker, creating over 1,000 lithographs over the course of his career. Indeed, Miró’s first prints were lithographs, a printmaking method that enables artists to draw directly on a stone slab or metal plate. Created in 1930, these early lithographs accompanied a book of poetry by Tristan Tzara and jumpstarted Miró’s lifelong love of the lithography technique. From from 1954 to 1958, Miró nearly gave up painting altogether to focus on these prints, earning him the Grand Prize for Graphic Work at the Venice Biennale in 1954. Some of Miró’s lithographs, such as his collaborations with the fine art publisher Derrière le Miroir, recreate his paintings on paper, while many others, such as his 1944 “Barcelona” series, are entirely new designs that explore the possibilities of the lithography technique.

"Lithographie Originale I" is an original color lithograph by Joan Miro, published in "Miro Lithographs IV, Maeght Publisher" in 1981. It depicts Miro's signature biomorphic abstract style in black, green, yellow, red, and blue.

12 9/16" x 9 3/4" art
22 3/4" x 19 7/8" frame

Image rights: David Barnett Gallery

Publisher: Maeght

About Joan Miró

Joan Miró rejected the constraints of traditional painting, creating works “conceived with fire in the soul but executed with clinical coolness,” as he once said. Widely considered one of the leading Surrealists, though never officially part of the group, Miró pioneered a wandering linear style of Automatism—a method of “random” drawing that attempted to express the inner workings of the human psyche. Miró used color and form in a symbolic rather than literal manner, his intricate compositions combining abstract elements with recurring motifs like birds, eyes, and the moon. “I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music,” he said. While he prized artistic freedom, Miró revered art history, basing a series of works on the Dutch Baroque interiors of Hendrick Sorgh and Jan Steen. In turn, Miró has inspired many artists—significantly Arshile Gorky, whose bold linear abstractions proved a foundational influence on Abstract Expressionism.

Spanish, 1893-1983, Barcelona, Spain, based in Paris and Catalonia, Spain