In 1940, tuberculosis forces him to a sanitarium in Sant Quirze de Safaja, near Barcelona. This stay is crucial, as it confirm his artistic vocation.
He will study at the Massana School, studies he completes with drawing classes at the FAD and the Sant Lluc Artistic Circle in Barcelona. His beginnings are difficult and he will do portraits on demand to survive. His work already shows some of his future traits such as certain irony and a Romanic flair that will always be part of his painting.
In 1950 Josep Maria Garcia-Llort earns a grant that allows him to go to Paris where he will meet his future wife Martha Crockett. There he will enjoy seeing live the works of Roualt and Chagall. His years in Paris allowed him to know the avantgardes, but he decides to go his own way with a rude and symbolic figurative painting.
In 1954 he moves with his wife to the USA, settling in Pineville, Louisiana. There they will live in Verda Vista, a wooded and wild zone with swamps that Josep Maria Garcia-Llort will travel often on boat. During these journeys he will see a fascinating fauna that will definitive impulse to his animalistic iconography that had begun in Paris and that will be enriched by the sumptuosity surrounding him.
His stays in New York, where he will present two solo shows, allow him to know first hand movements like abstract expressionism, but he feels closer to the work of Stuart Davis, although Josep Maria Garcia Llort’s work is more rude and expressionist.
Already decided to live between New Yokk and Louisiana, a long visit to Catalonia in 1956 where he will rekindle with his old friends, and the death of his father in 1958, decide him to return home for good in 1959.
Josep Maria Garcia-Llort settles in Barcelona keeping always contact with the USA and Paris. In his hometown, he will exhibit often at Sala Dalmau art gallery, keeping always his artistic and intellectual independence.
In 2003, shortly after presenting a personal show at Sala Dalmau gallery, Josep Maria Garcia-Llort will die in Barcelona.
After his death, several exhibitions have looked back on the work of Garcia-Llort. Besides the group show Utopies de l'origen. Avantguardes figuratives a Catalunya 1946-1969 from 2006, in 2013 the Centre d'Études Catalanes presented the retrospective Faules géométriques in Paris and in 2015 the Tarragona Museum of Modern Art presents the exhibition Garcia-Llort mirant el món accompanied with a book on the artist by Alex Mitrani.
In 2023 the MNAC museum acquires the work “Oració” for their collection.