Joan Mitchell (1925 – 1992)
Artist Joan Mitchell was an Abstract Expressionist painter. From an affluent family, Joan Mitchell was born and raised in Chicago. Her father was a physician and her mother a poet and both parents are known to have supported her artistic talents. She attended a private high school and the teachers there also supported her aptitude with art. She attended the Chicago Art Institute and earned her degree in art in 1947 and a Master of Fine Arts in 1950.
Joan Mitchell’s artistic style was influenced by the cubist painters and also the work of the French modernist artist Paul Cezanne. She also spent some time in France and it was there that her artistic style turned toward Abstract Expressionism. Mitchell later returned to New York and lived in Greenwich Village and she would socialize with the the New York Abstract Expressionist artists. Joan Mitchell had her first solo art exhibition in 1952 and her work was well received. Toward the end of the 1950s, general interest was waning in Abstract Expressionism due to the gaining popularity of Minimalism and Pop Art.
In the mid 1950s, Joan Mitchell began spending time in both New York and Paris. Ultimately she made the decision to live full time in Vétheuil, France in 1968. There the colors in her paintings began to be influenced by the natural light she experienced in the countryside – Pinks, oranges and golds. Joan Mitchell was not a prolific artist and on average only produced about twenty or so paintings per year. She was her own critic and would throw away the artwork that she felt was not up to par.
Joan Mitchell was also very supportive and generous of young artists. Some of these aspiring artists are know to have stayed with her Vétheuil. Some for just a night or two and others for extended periods of time. Correspondence indicates that their experience with Joan Mitchell has significant impact upon their lives.
Abstract Expressionist artist Joan Mitchell died of lung cancer in 1992 at the age of 66.