Collection: Juan Eduardo Cirlot

Juan Eduardo Cirlot (1916–1973) was born in Barcelona, where he studied music with Fernando Ardévol and moved in the circle of the composer Manuel de Falla. In the 1940s, his interests turned to poetry and art criticism, and he figured prominently in the Dau al Set group of avant-garde painters and poets. Joan Miró introduced Cirlot to the surrealist magus André Breton in Paris in 1949, and though Cirlot declined Breton’s invitation to join the surrealist group, the two men enjoyed a strong working relationship and were fast friends. Along with numerous volumes of poetry, Cirlot wrote the first monograph on the work of Miró and several studies of Gaudí, and was the critical champion of informalism and the artist Antoni Tàpies. In 1958, drawing on his vast erudition, which extended to medieval hermeneutics, Eastern art and religion, Sufism, and film, he produced the first edition of A Dictionary of Symbols, a book that he continued to revise and enlarge for the rest of his life. Cirlot fought in the Spanish Civil War as a Republican, and the publication of his one novel was blocked by the censors of the Franco regime. In the course of his life, Cirlot worked as a customs agent, for a bank, and in publishing. He was also known as an avid collector of medieval swords.
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