Joan Mitchell

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Joan Mitchell (February 12, 1925 - October 30, 1992) was a ‘Second Generation’ Abstract Expressionist painter. Along with Lee Krasner, she was one of the few female painters of her era to gain critical and public acclaim. Her paintings can be seen in major museums and collections across America and Europe.

Mitchell was born in 1925 in Chicago, Illinois. In 1942 she enrolled at Smith College, later transferring to The Art Institute of Chicago in 1944. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the Art Institute in 1947 and an MFA in 1950. She also studied at Hans Hofmann’s school in New York and traveled in France, Spain, and Italy. By the early 1950s, she was regarded as a leading artist in the New York School.

In her early years she was influenced by Van Gogh, Cezanne, Kandinsky, and later by the work of Franz Kline and Willem de Kooning, among others.

In 1955 Mitchell moved to France to join her life and artistic partner, Canadian painter Jean-Paul Riopelle, with whom she had a long, rich, and tumultuous relationship. They maintained separate homes and studios, but had dinner and drank together daily. They first lived in Paris, and then moved west to the town of Giverny, near Claude Monet's home.

Her paintings are expansive, often covering two separate panels. Landscape was the primary influence on her subject matter. She painted on unprimed canvas or white ground with gestural, sometimes violent brushwork. Her paintings are highly expressive and emotional.

She said that she wanted her paintings "to convey the feeling of the dying sunflower."

Mitchell died in 1992 in Vetheuil, a suburb of Paris, France.

The Joan Mitchell Foundation awards grants and stipends to painters, sculptors, and artist collectives. It is located in Manhattan at 155 Avenue of the Americas.

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Joan Mitchell

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