The Bromance Between Ernest Hemingway and Joan Miro

4 Things You Didn’t Know About Joan Miro, Ernest Hemingway and Being BFFs

The friendship between Joan Miro and Ernest Hemingway is a surprising one. So often we evaluate artistic and literary genius in a vacuum, isolating genius and falling back on tired assumptions of the hermetic lives of our artistic and authorial greats. But it turns out these two were incredibly enmeshed in each other’s lives and here’s the proof.

#1 Being BFFs Means Buying Your Bestie’s Best Painting

The Farm by Joan Miro, 1922.
The Farm by Joan Miro, 1922.

The visual arts played a major role in Hemingway’s life and in his ideas about creativity. It comes as a surprise to many who focus on his drinking-shooting-fighting persona, but he was incredibly plugged into the art scene of his day and was a serious art collector. He purchased what is lauded as Joan Miro’s masterpiece, The Farm, in 1926.

#2 Keep Time for Your Bestie When He Gets in the Ring

Hemingway liked to live larger than life. He hunted big game. Drank like a fish. He raced horses, raced bicycles, and played tennis, yup tennis, like a bruiser. Ran with the bulls and drank some more with the matadors. He also boxed.

When he was on safari he boxed with locals, and when he was training in the ring he could count on Miro to keep time for him. The two sparred with each other numerous times at the Parisian gym they both patronized.

Joan Miro often kept time for Hemingway during his practice rounds of boxing.
Author Ernest Hemingway standing bare-chested sparring in front of mirror. (Photo by George Karger/Pix Inc./The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images)

#3 Hang Your Best Friend’s Artwork Over Your Bed

It’s not weird, it’s bromance. Hemingway was incredibly taken by the tight detail and flatness of Miro’s The Farm from the first time he saw it when it was first displayed in 1922. He ostensibly bought the work for his wife Hadley’s birthday and eventually hung the art above their bed in their apartment in Paris.

Hemingway also displayed the painting in his Havana dining room but wouldn’t lend it out for exhibitions or show it to guests because he didn’t want to share it, according to The Washington Times.

Ernest Hemingway, right, in Paris. The author hung Joan Miro's masterpiece above his bed in his Parisian apartment.
Ernest Hemingway, right, in Paris. The author hung Joan Miro’s masterpiece above his bed in his Parisian apartment.

#4 Write Your Opus with Your Best Friend’s Painting in Mind

During the time The Farm hung in his apartment, Hemingway was busy working on his masterwork, A Farewell to Arms. The opening lines describe “the bed of the river…pebbles and boulders, dry and white in the sun” and “the dust rising and leaves, stirred by the breeze, falling and the soldiers marching and afterward the road bare and white except for the leaves.” Numerous historians have noted the text’s evocation of Miro’s work.

The opening lines of Ernest Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms features a description of a landscape inspired by Joan Miro's work.
The opening lines of Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms features a description of a landscape inspired by Joan Miro’s work.

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Courtney Jordan

About Courtney Jordan

  Courtney is the editor of Artist Daily. For her, art is one of life’s essentials and a career mainstay. She’s pursued academic studies of the Old Masters of Spain and Italy as well as museum curatorial experience, writing and reporting on arts and culture as a magazine staffer, and acquiring and editing architecture and cultural history books. She hopes to recommit herself to more studio time, too, working in mixed media.