"When I first knew Miró he had very little money and very little to eat," Ernest Hemingway recalled of his close friend and boxing partner during the 1920s in Paris, "and he worked all day every day for nine months painting a very wonderful picture." Born in Barcelona in 1893, the son and grandson of Catalan craftsmen, Miró, with his painstaking rhythms and his deep love for the Spanish countryside, could seem more artisan than artist. His gently abstract dreamscapes of hunting and farming under starlit skies—Goodnight Moon for grown-ups—became increasingly popular during his long life. (He died in 1983 at the age of 90.) While he never achieved Picasso's spectacular success, his work was sufficiently familiar by the 1960s—in posters, murals, and tapestries—that he was in danger of becoming a brand, like his fellow Catalan Salvador Dalí. It comes as a salutary shock to walk through the astonishing show at the Museum of Modern Art devoted to Miró's most exuberantly creative decade, from 1927 to 1937, when Miró announced his intention to "assassinate painting." Working at lightning speed and discarding one approach after another, Miró found he could press anything into the service of art. Here, a bird, represented by a cluster of real feathers, "pursues" (the French word is dangled around the looping yellow pattern of flight) a bee across a bare canvas and gives her a kiss.