“By nature, I am tragic and taciturn,” says Joan Miró in the opening line of Joan Miró: I Work Like a Gardener. The pocket-size hardcover, recently republished by Princeton Architectural Press in a new English translation, consists almost entirely of the Spanish Surrealist’s words, culled from a 1958 interview between Miró and French critic Yvon Taillandier.
It is full of insights into the mind of Miró (1893–1983), who was famous for creating decidedly un-taciturn works that vibrate with electrifying colors and primitively rendered shapes resembling eyeballs, microorganisms, birds, rocks, arrows, crescent moons and stars that seem to drift in an alternate universe. “My painting may be considered as humorous and gay, in spite of my tragic disposition,” the artist concedes.
Below are 10 illuminating tidbits from the book, alongside artworks from 1stdibs. (You can also learn more about Miró in our piece analyzing 12 famous artist signatures.)