Joan Mitchell (1926-1992) was a leading painter and printmaker within the second generation of the New York School. Known for her strong gestural style, Mitchell was fundamental to the Abstract Expressionist period in the US, although she spent the better half of her career living abroad in France. She was influenced by nature and landscapes, and her emotion-laden abstractions are both highly expressive and often spontaneous.
In a career that spans over four decades, Mitchell produced only a handful of prints. The works from 1981 and 1992, a series in which she collaborated with Kenneth Tyler at his urging, are some of the largest and celebrated series of lithographs based on subject-matters pertaining to landscape. Each of the work combine complexity, intensity, and fluidity of abstracted lines and marks to create compositions that have become synonymous with the visual language of Joan Mitchell’s work. The works, full of vigor, have an openness from the balanced relationship between her marks and the whiteness of the paper, which acts as the source of light.
Born in Chicago, Mitchell studied at the Art Institute of Chicago before moving to New York in 1947, where she gained prominence a year later. She studied under Hans Hofmann during her years in New York. In 1959, she immigrated to France, residing in Claude Monet’s Vetheuil home, where she continued to live and work until her death in 1992
The subject of numerous shows at major museums and galleries in Paris and New York, Mitchell was the subject of a defining retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in 2002, which was accompanied by a major monograph with contributions by Jane Livingston, Linda Nochlin, and Yvette Lee. She has exhibited widely, including at Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University, NY; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; Whitney Museum of American Art; Walker Art Center; Museé des Beaux-Arts de Roven, France; Grand Palais; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Centre Georges Pompidou; Museum of Modern Art, New York; St Louis Art Museum; Detroit Institute of Arts; and Kunstforum Wien. Mary Ryan Gallery held important exhibitions of Mitchell’s work in 2004 and 2011.