Joan Mitchell, born in Chicago in 1925, was a bold and inventive painter, and a prominent member of the "second generation" of Abstract Expressionists. She attended Smith College and the Art Institute of Chicago before moving to New York in 1950. In the late 1940s, she met the ideas put forward by Jackson Pollock or Hans Hofmann. In 1951, Mitchell was included in the groundbreaking "Ninth Street Show," curated by Leo Castelli at the Artists Club of Greenwich Village. Influenced by Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline, Mitchell painted animated compositions, but being separate from other abstract expressionist painters. Mitchell argued that much of her work was inspired by her reactions to landscapes, rather than internal emotion and the subconscious.
She has been one of the few female artists of her time who has experienced recognition. Established definitely in France since 1968, developed an intense colorful abstraction inspired by natural phenomena, vital energy and influenced by Monet and Matisse. Mitchell's work is characterized by a fresh and spontaneous energy and a commitment to the principles of gestural abstraction in which she remained firm and uncompromising throughout her life.
Mitchell, is one of the few artists of her generation who embraced multi-purpose compositions. Over time she refined and broadened her approach to this format, orchestrating a distinctive balance between continuity and rupture both within and through panels. The panoramic extension of these paintings, oriented horizontally, is ideal for the landscape, an important and lasting theme for Mitchell that she related directly to memory.
After the death of her mother in 1967, she moved to Vetheuil, a city 60 miles from Paris and in Claude Monet's previous home. There, Mitchell found numerous natural phenomena in the lush French landscapes for her works, which became larger and bolder later in her life. There she developed the style of lyrical blocks for which she is now known. Mitchell had a relationship during her artistic career with the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Museum of Modern Art in the City of Paris. She died of lung cancer in 1992, at 66 years of age.
In 2018, her painting Blueberry (1969) set an auction record for Mitchell when it was sold at Christie's for $ 16.6 million. Today, the artist's legacy is remembered through the Joan Mitchell Foundation, which awards grants to sculptors and painters in the United States. Her works are presented in the collections of the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris, the Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Tate Gallery in London, among many others.