Joan Gardy Artigas, Spanish (1938 - )

Joan Gardy Artigas (b. 1938) is a living embodiment of the modernist art movement. The son of Josep Llorens Artigas, Picasso’s and Miró’s favorite ceramicist, Artigas grew up surrounded by both the art and the artists who revolutionized twentieth-century art. Impressed into service as Miró’s assistant as a teenager, he left Spain several years later both to escape the oppressive Franco regime and to try and establish an independent artistic identity. After a period as a student at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, he became friends with the sculptor Alberto Glacometti and, opening a ceramics atelier in Paris, worked with Georges Braques and Marc Chagall. When his father became too frail to work, Miró called him back to Spain and a twenty-year partnership—broken only by Miró’s declining health in 1981—ensued. The fruits of this partnership can be seen in large ceramic murals and sculptures all over the world including ceramic murals for Harvard University, UNESCO (Paris), Fondation Maeght (St. Paul), the 1970 World’s Fair in Osaka, the Barcelona airport, the Kunsthaus in Zurich, the Haack Museum (Ludwigshafen), IBM Headquarters (Barcelona), and a 60-metre (200 foot) ceramic mural for the Palais des Expositions et des Congres de Madrid; he and Miró also collaborated on a 22-metre (73 foot) ceramic sculpture for a fountain in Barcelona.

In addition to his work with Miró, he has made a number of monumental public sculptures including a monumental work in Zurich, a large fountain for Vitry-sur-Seine, La Porta Blanca, an 8.5-metre (28 foot) cement and bronze sculpture for Chamonix, Forma de dona for Plateau d’Assy, Porta per una ciutat, an 11-metre (36 foot) scupture outside Barcelona, La porta de Franca, a 15-metre (50 foot) sculpture on the French side of the tunnel at Mont-Blanc, Terra I foc, a 15-metre (50 foot) work for "la Caixa," Barcelona, and works for Dallas, Atlanta, Miami, London, the Fonda Europa de Granollers, Barcelona, and the Fundació Pilar i Joan Miró in Palma de Mallorca, and sculpture gardens in London and Tokyo. He also participated in several architectural projects with the firm of Skidmore Owings, and Merrill, making ceramic floors and fountains in Atlanta, Chicago, Cairo, Egypt. Artigas began exhibiting his own smaller ceramic and bronze sculptures in France and Spain during the mid-1960s and began making lithographs and etchings in 1966. He has had a number of commissions for large public sculptures (in bronze, ceramics, and concrete) in Europe, Japan, and the U.S. and has had shows in many European, Japanese, and American galleries and museums, including The Meadows Museum of Spanish Art at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, the Hispanic Institute in New York, and Galerie Lelong in Paris. A major retrospective of his works in all media was held at the Tecla Sala Centre Cultural in Barcelona in 1996 and a large exhibition documenting Miró’s collaborations with Josep Llorens Artigas and Joan Gardy Artigas was held at the Fundació Pilar I Joan Miró in Palma de Mallorca in 1998. Spaightwood Galleries gave him his first U.S. one-person show in 1982, and has included his work in shows almost every year since, with one-person shows usually every two to three years.

He has been a visting artist at the UW—Madison, and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. He serves on the board of the Fondation Miro in Barcelona and is Director of the Fundació Tallers Josep Llorens Artigas in Gallifa, Spain, which he created in 1989 in memory of his father and to provide a place where artists from all parts of the world come together to work for a period of up to six months.

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