Ernest Hemingway, Joan Mirό, and The Farm (1921-1922)

David Gariff, art historian and senior lecturer, National Gallery of Art


Ernest Hemingway’s most beloved possession was Joan Miró’s painting The Farm. For both the painter and the writer, The Farm crystallized everything true and noble about Catalonia and its people. Miró referred to the painting as “a résumé of my entire life in the country.” For Hemingway, who first met Miró in 1923, the painting embodied “… all that you feel about Spain when you are there and all that you feel when you are away and cannot go there. No one else has been able to paint these two very opposing things.”

The painting – its subject and larger political and cultural significance – signified a lifelong personal touchstone for both men, revealing a host of artistic insights into the relationship between word and image, reality and imagination, tradition and modernist innovation. Recommended reading: Ernest Hemingway, Death in the Afternoon

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