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Joan Mitchell (American, 1925–1992)

About this artist

Source: Oxford University Press

American painter. She studied at Smith College in Northampton, MA, from 1942 to 1944, and then at the Art Institute of Chicago (1944–9) and at Columbia University in New York (1950). From 1950 to 1955, when she had a studio on St Mark’s Place, in the heart of Greenwich Village in New York, she was part of a close-knit community of abstract painters and was profoundly influenced by Abstract Expressionism, especially by the work of Willem de Kooning, Arshile Gorky and Franz Kline. However much she was affected by their work, however, her aim was less to express emotional states than to convey her experience of landscape, as in City Landscape (1955; Chicago, IL, A. Inst.)

Mitchell left New York for France in 1955, living first in Paris and later outside the city at Vétheuil. She continued to paint without regard to changing fashions, producing large pictures that shimmer with vibrant skeins and drips of paint, creating a vivid web of colour against a pale, neutral background. Often alluding to her sources in landscape through her use of suggestive titles, as in Mont St Hilaire (1957; Palm Beach, FL, Lannan Found.), she displayed a devotion to nature suggesting an affinity with the earlier work of artists such as Cézanne and Kandinsky, but expressed in wholly contemporary terms.

Patti Stuckler
From Grove Art Online

© 2009 Oxford University Press

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