Joan Mitchell was an artist whose career spanned more than four decades, from her first professional solo exhibition in New York in 1952 until her death in France in 1992. She worked in a variety of mediums—including oil on canvas, pastel on paper, and lithographic printing—and is widely recognized as one of the most significant artists of the post-war era.
Joan Mitchell was a leading American Abstract Expressionist painter and printmaker. Working in an inventive gestural style, Mitchell’s works are characterized by their luminous layers of color and inspiration from nature, as seen in her hallmark work Sunflower (1972). “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,” she once reflected. Born on February 12, 1925 in Chicago, IL, Mitchell earned both her BFA and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Moving to New York in the late 1940s, she was introduced to the ideas espoused by artists like Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, and Hans Hofmann. In 1951, Mitchell was included in the groundbreaking “Ninth Street Show,” curated by Leo Castelli at the Artists’ Club in Greenwich Village. Over the following decades, the artist divided her time between Paris and New York, developing the style of blocky shapes of lyrical color for which she is now known. Mitchell died on October 30, 1992 in Paris, France at the age of 67. In 2018, her painting Blueberry (1969), set an auction record for Mitchell when it sold at Christie’s for $16.6 million. Today, the artist’s legacy is remembered through the Joan Mitchell Foundation which provides grants for sculptors and painters in the United States. Her works are featured in the collections of the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Tate Gallery in London, among many others.