PALMA became the centre of the art world on September 4, 1978, when the city honoured artist Joan Miró on his 85th birthday, with major exhibitions at La Lonja and the Casal Solleric. La Lonja exhibited Miró*s works while the Casal Solleric, still not refurbished at that time, was the scene of a unique collection of special homages to the artist in the form of original works donated by artists from all over the world: writers, painters, poets, essayists, art critics. Joan Miró was fêted in distinguished company, the King and Queen of Spain accompanied the artist and his wife, Pilar Juncosa, at both inaugurations. The city council, headed by its then Mayor, Paulino Buchens, organised the exhibition at La Lonja, while the collection at the Casal Solleric, which had drawn contributions from 365 names in international culture, was thanks to the Majorca Daily Bulletin and its stablemate Ultima Hora. A cultural and social event of the highest order, the exhibition at La Lonja entitled “Paintings by Joan Miró” was given patronage by the Ministry of Culture and the Committee of Honour was presided over by King Juan Carlos. Pere A. Serra, president of the Grup Serra publishing house, was coordinator of the Organizing Committee and the Nobel laureate Camilo José Cela collaborated as a member on both the Committee of Honour and on the organising committee. Among the distinguished names in the art world who collaborated in the organisation of the event, were those of the English critic, artist and collector, Sir Roland Penrose; Jacques Dupin, leading expert on the works of Miró, and Alexandre Cirici, art historian, professor, critic and author of some 60 books. They wrote texts for the exhibition's catalogue. With contributions from the Miró Foundation in Barcelona, from the Maeght collection, from private collections belonging to the artist's family and to others, the exhibition at La Lonja began with an early work dating from 1914 entitled “Le paysan”; it continued with works that he painted in the Catalan village of Montroig in 1919; the well-known “Maternité” dating from 1924; “La Estrella Matinal” (1940) from the series “Constellations”; paintings from the era of the 1960s such as “El oro del cielo azul”; and a large triptych dating from the 1970s, an epoch in which Miró explored other artistic milieux. “Palma and all of the island owes a great deal to Miró, and with this exhibition we feel we have gone some way to saying thank you, but it is our wish to continue to be in debt to him”. These sentiments were expressed in the catalogue text signed by Paulino Buchens in honour of the great artist, adopted son of the City of Palma and holder of its Gold Medal. As well as being honoured with the inauguration of the exhibition of sa Llonja and the homage to Miró at the Solleric, the painter was presented with the Gold Medal of Catalonia at his home in Son Abrines. It was personally awarded by Josep Tarradellas, the then president of the regional government, who travelled to Palma for the commemorative ceremony in Joan Miró*s honour accompanied Catalonia's Culture minister, Pere Pi i Sunyer. A sculpture by Miró entitled “Ocell solar” dominated the entrance to La Lonja, where Palma's Mayor received the Spanish monarchs and the celebrated artist with his wife. Miró had suffered a fall some days earlier and it was feared that his precarious state of health would not permit his attendance on the occasion. But he made it. The artist had said he would be there, whether or not his doctors gave him permission because not to attend would have been an act of discourtesy to the King and Queen. The Casal Solleric exhibition was a tribute of 365 poets, essayists, novelists, art critics, painters, sculptors, engravers, and a large number of friends of one of the key figures of the 20th century, gathered over the space of eight months by . the Majorca Daily Bulletin and the Ultima Hora, said Pere A. Serra. The works resulted in a special edition of the paper, for which Miró himself designed the letters of the alphabet. They contributors included such distinguished figures as Chilida, Chagall, Saura, Tàpies, Henry Moore, Juana Francés, Tristan Tzara, Vicente Escudero, Espriu, Eugeni Yevtuchenko, Feito, Genovés, José Guerrero, Eduardo Arroyo, José Hierro, Hans Hartung, Mompó, Pablo Serrano, Juan José Tharrats, Pierre Soulages, Ellis Jacobson, Tadeus Kantor, Nina Kandinsky, Josep M. llompart, Daniel Moyano, Motherwell, Marino Marini, Lucio Muñoz, Severo Ochoa, Palazuelo, Mohamed Riad Said, Maruja Mallo and Sempere.


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