- Joan Mitchell
- oil on canvas
- 24 x 19 3/4 inches
Acquired by the present owner from the above in November 1974
Born in Chicago in 1926, Joan Mitchell was exposed to art at a young age through her mother’s career as an editor and her father’s interest in drawing. When Mitchell later moved to New York City in the 1940s, she became part of the downtown crowd, associating with the Abstract Expressionist painters, whose interests and goals aligned with her own. However, she was always aware of her tenuous place as a “lady painter” in an otherwise male dominated milieu. Mitchell’s move to France in the late 1950s afforded her some emotional distance from city life and allowed her to grow exponentially as an artist.
Painted during the middle of her residency in France, Untitled nods towards both Contemporary and Impressionist influences. At this point in her life, Mitchell was living in Vetheuil, a town in the countryside a short distance from the house that Monet had occupied, and their common influence is apparent. Her colors conjure up evocations of sunlight, foliage, and water – similar to the subject matter that occupied Monet and the Impressionists. However, the impact of her contemporaries is apparent as well, and her familiarity with the work of Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, and Philip Guston is apparent in her abstract composition and bold brushwork. Ultimately, through a combination of influences and techniques, Mitchell arrives at a mesmerizing style that is all her own.