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The Anti-Painting of Joan Miró

Burnt Canvas 4, acrylic on canvas cut and burnt, Barcelona, Spain, © Fundació Joan Miró.
Joan Miró, Burnt Canvas 4, acrylic on canvas cut and burnt, Barcelona, Spain, © Fundació Joan Miró.

Art State of Mind

The Anti-Painting of Joan Miró

Joan Miró is an artist very difficult to categorize. In general, he is considered to be a surrealist. However, his works show a great diversity that goes beyond Surrealism, Dadaism and Fauvism. Some pieces remind us of childish paintings, some are quite enigmatic and some fill the viewer with awe. Today, we will have a look at the anti-painting of Joan Miró – very specific works he created during the 1970s.

Burnt Canvas 5, acrylic on canvas cut and burnt, Barcelona, Spain, © Fundació Joan Miró. anti-painting of Joan Miro
Joan Miró, Burnt Canvas 5, acrylic on canvas cut and burnt, Barcelona, Spain, © Fundació Joan Miró.

The anti-painting of Joan Miró is not an actual technique as it is more of a statement. He didn’t mean to violate or to deconstruct the norms and traditions of painting, but rather to remove all sacred qualities and status of the artistic work. It began with his claim:

“I want to assassinate painting.”


Miró tortured the canvas with unconventional methods: he burnt it, wounded it and perforated it in order to create a grotesque disfigurement.

Burnt Canvas 4,  acrylic on canvas cut and burnt, Barcelona, Spain, © Fundació Joan Miró.
Joan Miró, Burnt Canvas 4, acrylic on canvas cut and burnt, Barcelona, Spain, © Fundació Joan Miró.

By challenging the very notion of painting, Miró questioned its economic value and the interests of the art market. Thus, he used art to join the growing struggle for freedom that emerged towards the end of the Franco dictatorship.

Burnt Canvas 1,  acrylic on canvas cut and burnt, Barcelona, Spain, © Fundació Joan Miró. anti-painting of Joan Miro
Joan Miró, Burnt Canvas 1, acrylic on canvas cut and burnt, Barcelona, Spain, © Fundació Joan Miró.

The anti-painting of Joan Miró proved that he was an artist of violence and resistance who never ceased to be a painter.

Here you can find 9 things you didn’t know about Joan Miró. Check your knowledge!


The anti-painting canvases are part of the permanent collection of the Foundation of Joan Miró in Barcelona. If you plan to visit Catalonia, you should see the collection!

Errika has a master’s degree in Modern and Contemporary History and she is really into History of Art. Some of her favorite artists are Otto Dix, Zdzislaw Beksinski, Frida Kahlo and Vincent Van Gogh. In her free time, she reads literature, she listens to music, she enjoys a good old movie and she creates miniatures of macabre versions of classic fairytales.

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