Joan Mitchell (American, 1925–1992) was bold and inventive painter, and preeminent member of the “second generation” of Abstract Expressionists. Born in Chicago, she attended Smith College and The Art Institute of Chicago before moving to New York in 1950. Influenced by Willem de Kooning (American/Dutch, 1904–1997) and Franz Kline (American, 1910–1962), Mitchell painted striking, animated compositions, but remained somewhat separated from other Abstract Expressionist painters. Mitchell maintained that much of her work was inspired by her reactions to landscapes, rather than by internal emotion and the subconscious, frequently cited as a driving force behind the work of most Abstract Expressionists.

Mitchell’s paintings, though reflective of her external surroundings, were never representational. The artist commented, I do not want to improve [nature]... I certainly never mirror it. I would like more to paint what it leaves me with. In 1959, after several successful but tempestuous years in New York, Mitchell moved to Paris, and would live in France for the rest of her life. After her mother’s death in 1967, she settled in Vétheuil, a town 60 miles outside of Paris and a previous home of Claude Monet (French, 1840–1926). There Mitchell found ample natural phenomena in the lush French landscapes for her works, which grew larger and bolder later in her life. Mitchell had several retrospectives during her lifetime, at the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and at the Musée de l’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris. She died of lung cancer in 1992, at 66 years of age.

Timeline

1925
Born in Chicago, IL on February 12
1942
Received high school diploma from the Francis Parker School in Chicago, IL, USA
1942–1944
Attended Smith College, Northampton, MA
1944–1947
BFA, The Art Institute of Chicago, IL
1948–1949
Traveling fellowship to France, Italy and Spain from The Art Institute of Chicago, IL, USA
1950
MFA, The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Attended Columbia University, New York, NY
1955
Moved to France with Canadian-born French painter Jean Paul Riopelle
1992
Died in Paris, France on October 30th

Exhibitions

2014
En trois temps, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen, Caen, France
2014
Rothko to Richter: Mark-Making in Abstract Painting from the Collection of Preston H. Haskell, Princeton University Art Museum, Princeton, USA
2014
Mitchell, Bengils, Wilke, Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, USA
2014
Everybody is Nobody to Somebody, Santander Foundation, Madrid, Spain
2014
Why Nature? Hollis Taggart Galleries, New York (catalogue), USA
2014
De la pierre à l´écran, un parcou imprimé Centre de la Gravure et de l\'Image imprimée de la rue des Amours 10, La Louvière, Belgium
2014
Joan Mitchell: Trees, Cheim & Read, New York (catalogue), USA (solo)
2013
Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin (catalogue), USA (solo)
2013
At Home in Poetry, Poetry Foundation, Chicago, USA (solo)
2013
An American Master, Lehigh University Art Galleries, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, USA (solo)
2012
The Last Decade, The Butler Institute of Contemporary Art, Youngstown, Ohio (solo)
2012
The Last Paintings, Hauser & Wirth, London, UK (solo)
2011
The Last Paintings, Cheim & Read, New York (catalogue), USA (solo)
2011
Paintings from the Fifties, Lennon, Weinberg, Inc., New York, USA (solo)
2010
Roaring Fifties, Galerie Thomas Modern, Germany (solo)
2010
Works on Paper, 1956 - 1992, Newcomb Art Gallery, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA (solo)
2009
Drawings, Kukje Gallery, Seoul, Korea (solo)
2009
Sunflowers, Hauser & Wirth, Zurich, Switzerland (solo)
2008
A Discovery of the New York School, Kunsthalle Emden, Germany; Palazzo Magnani, Reggio Emilia, Italy; Musée des Impressionnismes, Giverny, France (solo)
2008
Sunflowers, Cheim & Read, New York, NY (solo)
2008
Paintings and Pastels 1973–1983, Lennon, Weinberg, Inc., New York, NY (solo)
2007
Works on Paper 1956–1992, Cheim & Read, New York, NY (solo)
2007
Leaving America, Hauser & Wirth, London, England (solo)
2006
DeYoung Museum, San Francisco, CA, (solo)
2006
A Survey 1952–1992, Kukje Gallery, Seoul, Korea (solo)
2005
Prints from the Foundation, Susan Sheehan Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
2005
Frémicourt Paintings 1960–62, Cheim & Read, New York, NY (solo)
2005
Joan Mitchell Sketchbook 1941–51, Francis M. Naumann, New York, NY (solo)
2005
The 1946–1952 Sketchbook Drawings and Related Works, Pollock Gallery, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX, USA (solo)
2005
Hiroshima Museum of Art, Hiroshima, Japan
Matuszakaya Museum, Nagoya, Japan.
Manny Silverman Gallery, Group Exhibition, Los Angeles, CA
Cheim & Read, New York, Fremicourt Paintings 1960-62,
Nagano Tokyu, Nagano, Japan
2004
The Paintings of Joan Mitchell, Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX; The Phillips Collection, Washington, DC (solo)
2003–2004
The Phillips Collection, Washington DC,
Tibor de Nagy, Working with Poets
Lennon, Weinberg, Joan Mitchell: Petit
2002
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, TX
Cheim & Read, New York, NY
The Paintings of Joan Mitchell, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, AL
1998
Robert Miller Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1997
Selected Paintings, Lennon-Weinberg, New York, NY
Abstract Expressionism in the United States, Centro Cultural Arte Contemporaneo Mexico City, Mexico
1996
Robert Miller Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Group Exhibition, Manny Silverman Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, USA
Galerie Jean Fournier & Cie, Paris, France (solo)
1995
Galerie Jean Fournier & Cie, Paris, France (solo)
1994
Robert Miller Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Les derniéres années, Galerie nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris, France
1993
Robert Miller Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Joan Mitchell Prints and Illustated Books: A Retrospective, Susan Sheehan Gallery New York, NY
1992
Joan Mitchell Pastels, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
Galerie Jean Fournier & Cie, Paris, France (solo)
1991
Robert Miller Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
The Whitney Museum of American Art Annuals and Biennials, New York, NY
1990
Galerie Jean Fournier & Cie, Paris, France (solo)
1989
Robert Miller Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1988–1989
San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA, USA; Albright Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, NY; La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, CA, USA (solo)
1987
Galerie Jean Fournier & Cie, Paris, France (solo)
1984
Galerie Jean Fournier & Cie, Paris, France (solo)
1983
The Whitney Museum of American Art Annuals and Biennials, New York, NY
1982
American Artists Abroad, 1900-1950, Washburn Gallery, New York, NY
Choix des peintures 1970-1982, Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France
1980
Galerie Jean Fournier & Cie, Paris, France (solo)
1978
Galerie Jean Fournier & Cie, Paris, France (solo)
Ruth Shcaffner Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA (solo)
1976
Galerie Jean Fournier & Cie, Paris, France (solo)
1975
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
1974
Whitney Museum of American Art New York, NY (solo)
1973
The Whitney Museum of American Art Annuals and Biennials, New York, NY
Ruth Shcaffner Gallery, Santa Barbara, CA (solo)
1972
Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Joan Mitchell, My Five Years in the Country, Everson museum of Art, Syracuse, NY
1971
Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Galerie Jean Fournier & Cie, Paris, France (solo)
Younger Abstract Expressionists of the Fifties, The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
1969
Galerie Jean Fournier & Cie, Paris, France (solo)
1968
Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1967
The Whitney Museum of American Art Annuals and Biennials, New York, NY
Galerie Jean Fournier & Cie, Paris, France (solo)
1965
The Whitney Museum of American Art Annuals and Biennials, New York, NY
Stable Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
1962
Paintings by Joan Mitchell, The New Gallery, Hayden Library, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA, USA (solo)
1961
The Whitney Museum of American Art Annuals and Biennials, New York, NY
Stable Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Joan Mitchell Paintings 1951-61, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL (solo)
Group Show, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, CT
1960
Gallery Neufville, Paris, France
1959
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
The Whitney Museum of American Art Annuals and Biennials, New York, NY
1953–1958
Stable Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
Nature in Abstraction, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY
1957
Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.
The Art Institute of Chicago, IL
1956–1957
Group Show, The Museum of Modern, Art, New York, NY
1953–1957
The Whitney Museum of American Art Annuals and Biennials, New York, NY
New York Painting and Sculptural Annual, Stable Gallery, New York, NY
1956
Group Show, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
Four Younger Americans: Paul Brach, MIchael Goldberg, Robert Goodnough, Joan Mitchell, Sidney Janice Gallery, New York, NY
1955
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
The Whitney Museum of American Art Annuals and Biennials, New York, NY
Vanguard 1955: A Painter's Selection of New American Painting, Walker Art Center Minneapolis, MN
1953
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
1951
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
The Whitney Museum of American Art Annuals and Biennials, New York, NY
New Gallery, New York, NY (solo)
New York Painting and Sculptural Annual, Stable Gallery, New York, NY
1950
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Saint Paul Gallery, St. Paul, MN(solo)
Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting, Krannert Art Museum, University of Illinois, Urbana, USA
1949
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
1947
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
1944
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL