Joan Mitchell

Joan Mitchell


Artist Details

Birth Place
Death Place
Phonetic Spelling
joh-n MIH-chuhl
Drawings and prints; Painting
Abstract Expressionism
Places of Residence
New York City; Vétheuil, France
Columbia University, New York, 1950; School of The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, 1948–50, 1944–47; Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts, 1942–44
Retrospective Exhibitions

Joan Mitchell Retrospective: Her Life and Paintings, Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany, 2015—2016; Joan Mitchell: Paintings, Musée des Impressionnismes, Giverny, France, 2009; Joan Mitchell: Retrospective, de Young Museum, San Francisco, 2006—2007; The Paintings of Joan Mitchell, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, 2002; Joan Mitchell: Les Dernières Années, 1983-1992, Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris, 1994; Joan Mitchell: Oeuvres de 1951 à 1982, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nantes, Nantes, France, 1994; Joan Mitchell Prints and Illustrated Books: A Retrospective, Susan Sheehan Gallery, New York, 1993

NMWA Exhibitions

Presswork: The Art of Women Printmakers, 1991
Four Centuries of Women's Art: The National Museum of Women in the Arts, 1990–91

About the Artist

An important member of Abstract Expressionism’s second generation, Joan Mitchell executed large, highly stylized abstractions of the landscape.

Influenced by her mother’s work as coeditor of Poetry magazine and by authors such as T.S. Eliot who came to visit, Mitchell first considered a career in writing. After studying English literature for a time, she focused instead on painting, earning her advanced degree from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago.

In 1950, she moved to New York and began exhibiting her work to considerable acclaim.  Mitchell's use of gestural, energetic brushwork to portray her subjective responses to the natural world complemented the Abstract Expressionist style that held sway at the time. 

Despite her growing success as a member of the group, the artist began spending time in France and eventually settled there permanently. After nine years in Paris, Mitchell moved to a country house in Vétheuil in 1968.

She continued making large, multipart canvases, had several major retrospectives of her work, and received three honorary doctorates. In 1982, Mitchell became the first American woman to have a solo exhibition at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris.

National Museum of Women in the Arts