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Joaquim Mir


A respected landscape painter and the key figure in Catalonian modernism, Joaquim Mir (1873–1940) made nature his subject at an early stage. In his landscapes art and the forces of nature blend together in an outpouring of light and colour. Mir expresses the powerful feelings aroused inside him by nature in strong colours and in a manner that makes his works almost abstracts.

Born in Barcelona, Mir studied with Lluis Graner and at the Llotja, the School of Fine Arts in Barcelona. He was a member of la Colla del Safrà, a group of young artists who painted in the countryside outside Barcelona. In 1899 he visited the island of Mallorca, where he stayed with the painter Santiago Rusiñol and met the Symbolist painter William Degouve de Nuncques.

He settled near the Torrent de Pareis, a canyon in the north of Mallorca, where he painted a number of exceptional landscapes in which light and colour are rendered in an almost abstract style. At Mir's solo exhibition in 1901 at the Sala Parés in Barcelona, critics hailed him as the great new painter of Catalan landscape.

In 1904 an accident and mental illness ended his stay in Mallorca period. During his convalescence in the psychiatric institute of Reus (1905–1906) he produced his most creative work, which won him an international reputation. He was given a solo show in Barcelona in 1907 and participated in group exhibitions in Madrid, Paris and the United States. Although his painting became more conventional in later years, he remained one of the most creative forces in Catalan art until well into the 1920s.