Miquel Barceló


Miquel Barceló is a contemporary artist of Spanish origin who is known for his experimental approach to painting and sculpture . Whether he uses bleach , organic matter or live insects , Barceló’s neo – expressionist work explores decomposition , light and the natural landscape . Miquel Barceló credits Lucio Fontana with great influence and his work Barceló is merely to call him abstract and cerebral in some way, as evidenced by his wide range of paintings, ceramics and installations.


Personal information

  • When was he born:  01/08/1957
  • Where he was born:  Felanich, Spain

Who is Miquel Barceló?

Miquel Barceló is one of the most important representatives of contemporary Spanish art who has an incredible creative force that ranges from the use of fabrics and murals to terracotta and ceramic sculptures, in addition to his cultural reference painting.

  • Biography of Miquel Barceló
  • Characteristics
  • Technique of Miquel Barceló
  • Acknowledgments
  • Works by Miquel Barceló
  • Phrases

Biography of Miquel Barceló

Miquel Barceló was born on January 8, 1957 in Felanitx, Spain . He was exposed to art through his mother , who was a traditional landscape painter . He briefly studied at the School of Decorative Arts in Palma de Mallorca and at the School of Fine Arts in Barcelona in the 1970s.


In 1974, he made his first trip to Paris , where he was impressed by the avant – garde paintings and by the works of Jean Dubuffet, Art Brut and Art Informel . In 2011, the artist exhibited his Great Elefandret (Great Elephant) sculpture in Union Square in New York.

In the early 1980s , he gained international fame as one of the most important Spanish painters, after representing Spain at the Documenta Exhibition in Kassel in 1982. He currently lives and works between Paris , France and Mallorca , Spain, the works of the artist are in the collections of the Guggenheim Bilbao , the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Reina Sofía National Museum in Madrid, among others.


The main characteristics of his works are the following:

  • Many of his works show his concern for nature , the passage of time and origins , everyday scenes and landscapes.
  • One of his recurring themes is the sea .
  • In his painting, he shows an abundance of materials, achieving a final appearance of transparency.
  • Make a treatment of the pictorial matter to achieve relief effects.

Technique of Miquel Barceló

In addition to including still life pieces in his works , he also uses the technique of dripping on fabrics, which he then covers with white paint. He also uses the technique of collage of paper and cardboard , with which he shapes a series of self – portraits , representing himself painting in his studio and a series of still lifes in Paris.


Some of the recognitions that have been given to Miquel Barceló for his important work are:

  • National Prize for Graphic Art 2014, awarded by the National Calcography (Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando).
  • National Prize of Plastic Arts in 1986.
  • In 2003 he was awarded the Prince of Asturias Award for the Arts.
  • Prize Penagos Drawing Mapfre Foundation.
  • National Prize of Plastic Arts .
  • Prize Prince of Asturias of the Arts.
  • Sorolla Award from the Hispanic Society of America in New York.
  • He was appointed as Doctor Honoris Causa by the University of the Balearic Islands.

Works by Miquel Barceló

Miquel Barceló’s most pictorial works represent classic themes , such as still lifes , landscapes, and studies of light. Many of his works are horizontal , on the ground , and he enjoys freedom of movement on the canvas influenced by the dripping technique . Among his main works we can mention:

  • The Divine Comedy : the Divine Comedy is an exhibition that has a total of 71 watercolors, all of them original by Miquel Barceló, which were inspired by the work of Dante Alighieri and which were exhibited in three different volumes . This exhibition was made by the artist on the occasion of the edition of Dante’s literary work from the Círculo de Lectores . Among the topics covered in the exhibition we can mention hell , purgatory and paradise , as the three main themes. The final result of this work is impressionistic because it gives his images a tremendous expressive force.
  • The Great Spanish Dinner:  this work of art brings together a total of 77 pieces that were donated by different Spanish centers such as the Prado or the Reina Sofía; the National Gallery, London; the Louvre and the Pompidou, in Paris; the MoMA in New York, and by some private collections. The Great Spanish Dinner itself portrays the cooking of several paellas that are in full boil , within an oversized format with respect to the realistic size of the first still lifes , and by ” tactile ” textures made with techniques such as collage.


Some of the most important and remembered phrases of Miquel Barceló are the following:

  • You have to know how to recognize unexpected discoveries in everyday life , you have to have a trained eye. The things happen when one is attentive. It is like recognizing in a painting a triggering spot of meaning, but if one is not there painting it does not happen.
  • The fact is that it is still possible to imagine a world of peasants without lords . However, it was never possible to imagine a world of lords without peasants. So, you’ve always known who is left over.
  • The anxiety is more a brush, a tool, going with my work.
  • The art does not have to be nameable. The artist is like a medium , he is not even aware of his findings: art goes beyond what one can control, it is a state of despair, a miracle that never repeats itself: there is no system.

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