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Artists Joan Mitchell
Joan Mitchell Photo

Joan Mitchell

American Painter and Printmaker

Movement: Abstract Expressionism

Born: February 12, 1925 - Chicago, Illinois

Died: October 30, 1992 - Vetheuil, France

Joan Mitchell Timeline

Quotes

"My paintings are titled after they are finished. I paint from remembered landscapes that I carry with me - and remembered feelings of them, which of course become transformed. I could certainly never mirror nature. I would more like to paint what it leaves with me."
Joan Mitchell
"The painting is just a surface to be covered. Paintings aren't about the person who makes them, either. My paintings have to do with feeling, yet it's pretentious to say they're about feelings, too, because if you don't get it across, it's nothing."
Joan Mitchell
"Abstract is not a style. I simply want to make a surface work. This is just a use of space and form: it's an ambivalence of forms and space."
Joan Mitchell
"People will never understand what we are doing if they can't feel. All art is abstract. All music is abstract. But it's all real... We were all trying to bring that spirit, that spontaneous energy, into our work."
Joan Mitchell
"I want to paint the feeling of a space. It might be an enclosed space, it might be a vast space. It might be an object working with Hans Hofmann's phrase "push and pull," the structure, the light, the space, the color."
Joan Mitchell

"Abstract is not a style. I simply want to make a surface work. This is just a use of space and form: it's an ambivalence of forms and space."

Joan Mitchell Signature

Synopsis

Joan Mitchell is known for the compositional rhythms, bold coloration, and sweeping gestural brushstrokes of her large and often multi-paneled paintings. Inspired by landscape, nature, and poetry, her intent was not to create a recognizable image, but to convey emotions. Mitchell's early success in the 1950s was striking at a time when few women artists were recognized. She referred to herself as the "last Abstract Expressionist," and she continued to create abstract paintings until her death in 1992.

Key Ideas

Inspired by the gestural painting of Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline, Joan Mitchell's mature work comprised a highly abstract, richly colored, calligraphic manner, which balanced elements of structured composition with a mood of wild improvisation.
Mitchell rejected the emphasis on flatness and the "all-over" approach to composition that were prevalent among many of the leading Abstract Expressionists. Instead, she preferred to retain a more traditional sense of figure and ground in her pictures, and she often composed them in ways that evoked impressions of landscape.
Mitchell's abrasive personality has been a key factor in interpretations of her painting, which critics often read as expressions of rage and violence. Yet, almost as often, they have seen lyricism in her work.

Biography

Joan Mitchell Photo

Childhood

From an early age, Joan Mitchell showed an interest and love of painting, art, and poetry. She grew up comfortably in Chicago as the younger of two girls. Her mother, a poet, writer, and editor, sparked her lifelong interest in poetry. Her father, a successful doctor, would often take her to the Art Institute of Chicago and other museums.

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Joan Mitchell Biography Continues

Influences and Connections

Influences on Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Influenced by Artist
Artists, Friends, Movements
Joan Mitchell
Interactive chart with Joan Mitchell's main influences, and the people and ideas that the artist influenced in turn.
View Influences Chart

Artists

Paul CézannePaul Cézanne
Wassily KandinskyWassily Kandinsky
Henri MatisseHenri Matisse
Arshile GorkyArshile Gorky
Philip GustonPhilip Guston

Personal Contacts

Willem de KooningWillem de Kooning
Franz KlineFranz Kline
Frank O'HaraFrank O'Hara
Jean-Paul RiopelleJean-Paul Riopelle

Movements

ImpressionismImpressionism
Post-ImpressionismPost-Impressionism
CubismCubism
Abstract ExpressionismAbstract Expressionism

Influences on Artist
Joan Mitchell
Joan Mitchell
Years Worked: 1947 - 1992
Influenced by Artist

Artists

Joan SnyderJoan Snyder
Pat SteirPat Steir
Philip WoffordPhilip Wofford

Personal Contacts

Edward ClarkEdward Clark

Movements

Post-Painterly AbstractionPost-Painterly Abstraction
Lyrical AbstractionLyrical Abstraction

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Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors

" Artist Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by The Art Story Contributors
Edited and published by The Art Story Contributors
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