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Joan Mitchell drawing into Painting

Joan Mitchell drawing into

Cheim & Read

C he i m & R e a d


Joan Mitchell drawing into

Painting Essay by Mark Rosenthal

Cheim & Read

“NO HANDS”: JOAN MITCHELL, PICTURES OF CONFIDENCE Mark Rosenthal As a teenager, Joan Mitchell was a competitive diver, tennis player, figure skater and horseback rider, activities that would endow her with a tough physical confidence that stood her in good stead as an artist.1 Even late in her life, athletic prowess provided a metaphor to characterize the full implications of her artistic practice, as when in 1986, she exclaimed, “Painting is a way of forgetting oneself . . . It’s like riding a bicycle with no hands. I call that state ‘no hands’ . . . It’s a state of non self-consciousness . . . It is lovely.”2 With that sense of assuredness, Mitchell’s art is without personal anguish; instead, it is brimming with selfpossession — both in terms of her handling of paint and of her posture with regard to the art world. Notwithstanding her avowed composure, however, Mitchell described herself as a composite of “big Joan” and “little Joan,” the former signifying the aforementioned self-confident individual and the latter being the modest painter.3 From 1952 to 1959, she worked in a studio on St. Mark’s Place in the East Village of Manhattan, and fraternized with the macho Abstract Expressionist painters — partying and arguing about art as they did — while producing a body of work that was original and notable. But in a remarkable statement to the critic John Yau, Mitchell said that in all that time, she never allowed a man to make a studio visit, that

Untitled 1992 pastel on paper 29 1/2 x 21 3/4 in 74.9 x 55.2 cm

her studio was her “sanctuary.”4 Using Mitchell’s analysis, this behavior was likely that of “little Joan” who, responding to her New York situation, came to the decision that leaving New York for Paris in 1959 made sense. The present exhibition includes art from every decade of Mitchell’s career, with the trio of 1958 works hinting at the pivot she was about to make in her life and work. Preceding these, in the mid1950s, her imagery had been dominated by airy compositions of predominantly horizontal brush strokes that swept from side to side; works on paper are, in general, independent efforts in relation to contemporaneous canvases. However, with this 1958 grouping, the oils on paper may have been inspiration or effectively studies for the canvas of the same year. In all three she emphasizes thick gestural lines on white or off-white fields, similar to the work of her friend Franz Kline. In contrast to the broadly conceived, all-over compositions of the preceding years, Mitchell establishes in these 1958 pictures a strong, slightly curvilinear vertical on the left side of each composition, a kind of cantilever from which, it might be said, the other pictorial events unfold. One is reminded, once more, of an analogy Mitchell drew between art and another physical activity, in that case, dance. She described the dancer’s body establishing “kind of a plumb line . . . [so as] to be perfectly balanced” in relation to the otherwise “frenetic” activity of the dance.5 That these 1958 works represent a departure was indicative of the more dramatic transition about to occur in Mitchell’s life.6

In 1959, she moved to Paris to be with her companion, the French-Canadian painter Jean-Paul Riopelle. Seen in retrospect, the move had more profound personal implications. Notwithstanding her friendship with the New York School painters, she clearly felt at least a bit isolated if she would not allow any of them to pay her a visit, which was a commonplace activity. Her move to Paris suggests an aesthetic choice whereby she submerged American artistic developments within a profound embrace of French Impressionism. Having grown up in Chicago, with frequent visits to the Art Institute and then attendance at the School of that institution, Mitchell had studiously and enthusiastically been engaged with Modernist French art, from Édouard Manet to Henri Matisse. It is fascinating to contemplate the fact that another American abstract painter living in New York, Cy Twombly, also chose to depart for Europe. In his case the destination was Italy (he moved there in 1959) — a locus for his immersion in the art and literature of antiquity. The woman, Mitchell, and the gay man, Twombly, had both decided to abandon New York in order to embrace a culture they had long admired, even if those cultures represented faded glories. Too, their decision might well have reflected the degree to which they felt personally comfortable among the swashbuckler-crowd in New York. In effect, each chose to separate from that crucible of abstract painting in order to forge their next career phase within a different milieu.

Untitled, 1960 (plate 5) embodies Mitchell’s rhapsodic engagement with the French Impressionist tradition. Here she integrated her mid-1950s love of colors that are redolent of natural settings with the aqueous subject matter most notably exemplified by Claude Monet. The balletic anchor in this work is the orange horizon line across the middle of the left half of the painting, around which unfurls a flurry of pictorial incidents. Bracketing Untitled is the pair of sun-drenched watercolors of 1967 (plate 7 and back cover of dust jacket), made at the time Mitchell purchased a large property outside Paris on the Seine, in the village of Vétheuil, near Monet’s cottage from 1878 to 1881. These 1960s works exhibit an unabashedly lyrical mood, which was quite a departure from Abstract Expressionist painting and its sense of disquiet. Very soon after Untitled of 1960, and throughout the mid-1960s, Mitchell introduced a new element into her pictorial vocabulary — a large, irregularly shaped, more-or-less black mass that dominates each composition. Versions of this shape and variations of the somber color appear repeatedly in these years, at times cloud-like, at other occasions heavy in pictorial weight. Mitchell’s dramatic and unidentifiable form added a degree of gravitas to what she had exhibited in her 1960 Untitled. Compared to the all-over energy of that work, she imbued the subsequent paintings with a singular focus and concentration. It is not as if Mitchell’s characteristic vitality was absent; rather, its various strands were now restlessly bundled into one unknowable mass. Viewers of Mitchell’s earlier paintings found their eyes stilled and struck by a

previously unseen type of mood. One might add to this discussion a point Mitchell made, in 1986, about painting: that it is “without time . . . It never ends, it is the only thing that is both continuous and still. Then I can be very happy. It’s a still place. It’s like one word, one image.”7 With the black lumpy mass, she had effectively stilled the flow of time in her art, at least for the moment. “My black paintings” is how Mitchell described this period in her work.8 Her characterization is particularly fascinating if one compares it to certain concurrent developments: starting in the late 1950s and continuing until the end of his life, Mark Rothko created his own series of dark, somber compositions; in 1959, Mitchell’s old friend Philip Guston began a major transition in his art that would evolve throughout the 1960s, whereby his palette changed from bright to largely black and gray, and his canvases became dominated by dark forms that would eventually become recognizable as heads; beginning in 1958, another acquaintance, Hans Hofmann added sizable, albeit colorful, rectilinear blocks of color to his gestural style; finally, Tony Smith, a much-admired sculptor and friend of the New York School painters, made Die, a six-foot, cubic, black sculpture in 1962, in a daring premonition of all that would soon be called “Minimal Art.” Some new idea was certainly in the air on both sides of the Atlantic. In retrospect, one wonders whether this “trend,” if that is an accurate assessment, represented a newly imagined convergence between gestural painting and contemporaneous forms of planar abstraction, such as was practiced by Rothko, Ad Reinhardt and Barnett Newman, among others. In other words, an ambition became evident for a kind of

rapprochement between the then dominant forms of abstraction.9 If the evolution of Mitchell’s art was from the appearance of rambunctious energy to a more concentrated, if no less emotional, vocabulary, the last phase of her career, from 1969 to her death in 1992, might be termed pictorially opulent. Now happily ensconced in Vétheuil, she embarked on a sustained period of extravagantly colored, large-scale paintings. Mitchell’s art overflowed with highly saturated blues, yellows, greens and oranges, and volatile and/or languorous brushstrokes, all packed densely together. Evocative of her surroundings, and recalling the styles of Monet, Paul Cézanne and Vincent van Gogh, the late works were imbued with her profound feelings about nature and its manifestations. While anticipated at various times in the 1960s,10 Mitchell’s output from 1971 until the end of her life is often dominated by multi-panel, extraordinarily complex compositions. With such formats, she created a pictorial counterpart to a poem consisting of several stanzas. In these formats, Mitchell is often at her most ravishing best, as seen in Heel, Sit, Stay, 1977 (plate 10), Untitled, 1978 (plate 9) and Untitled, 1992 (plate 16). With the first of these, there is the appearance of overflowing paint organized into a determined arrangement. In the second, she has, as it were, opened the masses of the 1960s to the light of day; one reads this work as a series of variations on a theme. The 1992 painting is unusual for seeming to invite contemplation about the potential for a doppelgänger.

Whether coincidental or not, it happened that Jasper Johns was likewise engaged with multi-panel abstractions starting in 1972,11 but the differences between the two artists are fascinating to contemplate. Like working with a sonnet format, each approached this compositional challenge with some degree of calculation. For both, the viewer observes a sequence of actions and reactions or calls and responses, reading across the sections. Johns is controlling; Mitchell simulates an antic character. Johns engages the viewer’s mind to unravel what is his compositional strategy. Mitchell first engages the senses before the eye starts to unscramble the pictorial events. Johns was consumed with the borders between sections, creating systems by which to cross those demarcation lines with his crosshatch patterning. By contrast, Mitchell creates continuities or does not, variously juxtaposes

Jasper Johns, Corpse and Mirror II, 1974–75

like arrangements from one section to the next, forms mirroring effects, or unveils rich pictorial narratives from one section to the other. Mitchell is “no hands,” while Johns is all hands — read, intellect. Yet both luxuriate in pigment. Moved by the death of her sister and a story she heard about the demise of her friend Gisèle Barreau’s cousin, Mitchell embarked on a series of particularly rhapsodic paintings from 1983 to 1984, each entitled La Grande Vallée. Even as the title refers to a specific place,12 it has a poetic dimension as well, as if alluding to a paradisiac locale. In the case of La Grande Vallée XVI Pour Iva (plate 13), it is Mitchell’s dog that is celebrated. It is noteworthy that Mitchell often seemed to have started a work, as here, with a painterly version of a musical chord, meaning a grouping of colors that would endow each painting with the equivalent of a chromatic mood. Klaus Kertess memorably wrote that in Mitchell’s hands “‘Pastel’ is the chamber music of her greatness.”13 Another way to characterize her work in this medium is to call it a microcosm of her oeuvre. Not all artists who paint on a grand scale can translate their touch onto a sheet of paper, and in pastel no less, which is an exceedingly delicate medium. But here again, up close, one observes Mitchell’s consummate skills, for every stroke matters and is assured. She turned to pastel only at certain moments in her career, but more often late in her life. When she did, she created a body of highly refined works, with each a finished endeavor rather than a study or way station toward a larger painting. Taken together, the pastels exhibit a sensational variety of colors, moods and compositions.

The earlier comparison between Mitchell and Twombly was inspired by their nearly simultaneous turn from the New York art scene, a turn based on cultural predilection and, also, perhaps, triggered by matters concerning identity. They remained expatriates until the end of their lives, preferring the old world to the new. Not surprising given their European milieus, they exhibited a certain literary affinity in their art, with Mitchell comparing painting to poetry,14 and Twombly creating narratives based on literature from antiquity. Beyond lifestyle choices, one can point to a potential interplay between these two artists, too,15 as if each is occasionally learning from the other. Twombly turned to Mitchell-like multi-panel works in the mid-1970s,16 making abstract narratives that swept across great expanses, as Mitchell had done starting in the mid-1960s. At about the same time in the 1970s, in other words, after Mitchell, Twombly made frequent use of great masses of dense color as a central formal protagonist of his artistic vocabulary. Perhaps what we observe in these artists’ parallel careers is that each evolved the New York School style by adding finesse to its gritty character and cultural awareness to its American outlook, even as both made even more monumental canvases than their predecessors. Perhaps it is appropriate to conceive of Mitchell and Twombly (and others) as part of a phenomenon that could be dubbed Post Abstract Expressionism, in contrast to the usual appellation of second generation. Post Abstract Expressionism is comparable to Post Impressionism and Post Minimalism — periods when artists founded innovative approaches on the formal language of an immediately preceding practice.

Joan Mitchell, Chicago, 1966–67

Whereas New York School painting is usually thought of as psychologically freighted, Mitchell, who certainly had her share of depression, preferred the “no hands” approach to art. For her, French modernist painting, with its plenitude of sun-drenched excess, was a far more appealing basis upon which to make art. Indeed, with her work Mitchell induces the potential for a kind of revelation — about her exceedingly sentient character, her emotions before the grandeur of nature, and the sheer potential of color and paint to be transcendent. Mitchell’s art is an intense demonstration of what she feels to be alive in the world. I thank Laura Morris, archivist at the Joan Mitchell Foundation, for her insightful suggestions. “Joan Mitchell and Yves Michaud,” reprinted in Yilmaz Dziewior, ed., Joan Mitchell Retrospective: Her Life and Paintings (Bregenz and Köln: Kunsthaus and Museum Ludwig, 2015), 55–56. Originally published in Xavier Fourcade Gallery, Joan Mitchell: New Paintings (New York, 1986), 3–8. 3 As discussed in Joan Mitchell: Portrait of an Abstract Painter, directed by Marion Cajori (1992; New York: Arthouse Films, 2010), DVD. 4 John Yau, “Larger than Life,” in Joan Mitchell: Works on Paper, 1956–1992 (New York: Steidl/Cheim & Read Gallery, 2007), 5. 1 2

Cy Twombly, Goethe in Italy (Scene I), 1978

Cited in Marcia Tucker, Joan Mitchell (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 1974), 9. Between 1955 and 1959, Mitchell divided her time between Paris and New York and was actively painting in both cities. Untitled, 1958 (plate 3) was most likely painted in Paris. 7 Dziewior, 55. 8 Mitchell also described this mid-1960s work as “violent,” in Cajori. 9 In the early 1970s, Mitchell would transform her dark forms into more deliberately rectilinear and colorful shapes. 10 See, for instance, Girolata Triptych, 1964, and Chicago, 1966–67. 11 Johns had made multi-panel works starting in 1967, but his sustained engagement with abstraction as featured in such complex paintings started with Scent, 1972. Another coincidence is that both Mitchell and Johns were friendly with the writer Samuel Beckett, Johns having collaborated with the writer, while Mitchell’s projects with Beckett were unrealized. 12 For additional background on this series, see Yvette Y. Lee, “‘Beyond Life and Death’: Joan Mitchell’s Grand Vallée Suite,” in Jane Livingston, Joan Mitchell (New York: Whitney Museum of American Art, 2002), 61–77. 13 Klaus Kertess, introduction to Joan Mitchell Pastel (New York: Robert Miller Gallery, 1992), 13. 14 Mitchell statement in Cajori. 15 Klaus Kertess discusses this relationship specifically in terms of the two artists’ shared use of the Abstract Expressionist gesture. See Kertess, Joan Mitchell (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1997), 22, 28. 16 Other works by Mitchell might usefully be compared to Twombly’s, for instance, see two untitled multi-section drawings of 1967–68, illustrated in Mitchell: Works on Paper, pls. 17, 18. 5 6

1. Untitled 1958 oil on paper 29 3/4 x 25 5/8 in 75.6 x 65.1 cm

2. Untitled 1958 oil on paper 30 3/4 x 22 7/8 in 78.1 x 58.1 cm

St. Mark’s Place studio, 1957

3. Untitled 1958 oil on canvas 79 1/2 x 71 in 201.9 x 180.3 cm

4. Untitled 1967 colored pencil and watercolor on paper 14 1/2 x 9 1/4 in 36.8 x 23.5 cm

5. Untitled 1960 oil on canvas 48 x 79 1/2 in 121.9 x 201.9 cm

Mitchell with Yseult Riopelle in rue FrĂŠmicourt studio, c. 1964

6. Untitled 1964 oil on canvas 108 x 79 1/2 in 274.3 x 201.9 cm

7. Untitled 1967 watercolor on paper 16 1/4 x 13 in 41.3 x 33 cm

8. Untitled 1967 oil on canvas 76 3/4 x 51 1/8 in 194.9 x 129.9 cm

9. Untitled 1978 pastel on paper – 8 elements 10 3/4 x 66 in 27.3 x 167.6 cm

10. Heel, Sit, Stay 1977 oil on canvas diptych 110 3/8 x 125 7/8 in 280.4 x 319.7 cm

11. Untitled 1986 pastel and watercolor on paper diptych 10 3/4 x 11 3/4 in 27.3 x 29.8 cm

Vétheuil studio, c. 1982

12. Untitled 1986 pastel and watercolor on paper 6 1/2 x 4 in 16.5 x 10.2 cm

13. La Grande VallĂŠe XVI Pour Iva 1983 oil on canvas 102 1/4 x 78 3/4 in 259.7 x 200 cm

14. Untitled 1989 pastel on paper 30 x 21 3/4 in 76.2 x 55.2 cm

15. Pastel 1991 pastel on paper 48 x 31 1/2 in 121.9 x 80 cm

16. Untitled 1992 oil on canvas diptych 102 1/4 x 157 1/2 in 259.7 x 400.1 cm

17. Untitled 1992 pastel on paper 29 1/2 x 21 3/4 in 74.9 x 55.2 cm


Born February 12, Chicago


Died October 30, Paris


Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts


B.F.A., The School of the Art Institute of Chicago


Columbia University, New York


M.F.A., The School of the Art Institute of Chicago


Joan Mitchell: Drawing into Painting, Cheim & Read, New York


Joan Mitchell: At the Harbor and in the Grande Vallée, curated by Dr. Jeffrey Grove, Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art, L.L.C., New York Joan Mitchell Retrospective: Her Life and Paintings, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Bregenz, Austria; traveled to Museum Ludwig, Cologne, Germany Joan Mitchell: The Sketchbook Drawings, Museum Folkwang, Essen, Germany


Joan Mitchell: Trees, Cheim & Read, New York Joan Mitchell: The Black Drawings and Related Works, 1964–1967, Lennon Weinberg, Inc., New York Joan Mitchell: Mémoires de paysage, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen, France


Joan Mitchell, Galerie Max Hetzler, Berlin Joan Mitchell, Centro Cultural Banco do Brasil, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; traveled to Centro Cultural Banco de Brasil, Belo Horizonte, Brazil Joan Mitchell: At Home in Poetry, Poetry Foundation, Chicago

Joan Mitchell: An American Master, Zoellner Arts Center, Lehigh University, Bethlehem, Pennsylvania 2011

Joan Mitchell: The Last Paintings, Cheim & Read, New York; traveled to Hauser & Wirth, London Joan Mitchell: Paintings from the Fifties, Lennon, Weinberg, Inc., New York


Joan Mitchell: The Last Decade, Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills, California; traveled to Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio Joan Mitchell, Inverleith House, Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh Joan Mitchell in New Orleans: Paintings, New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans, Louisiana Joan Mitchell in New Orleans: Prints, Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans, Louisiana Joan Mitchell: Works on Paper, Newcomb Art Gallery, Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana Joan Mitchell: The Roaring Fifties, Galerie Thomas Modern, Munich


Joan Mitchell: Drawings, Kukje Gallery, Seoul


Joan Mitchell: Sunflowers, Cheim & Read, New York; traveled to Hauser & Wirth, Zürich Joan Mitchell: A Discovery of the New York School, Kunsthalle Emden, Emden, Germany; traveled to Palazzo Magnani, Reggio Emilia, Italy; Musée des Impressionnismes, Giverny, France Joan Mitchell: Paintings and Pastels, 1973–1983, Lennon, Weinberg, Inc., New York


Joan Mitchell: Works on Paper, 1956–1992, Cheim & Read, New York Joan Mitchell: Leaving America, Hauser & Wirth, London Joan Mitchell: The Last Prints, Susan Sheehan Gallery, New York


Joan Mitchell, de Young Museum, San Francisco Joan Mitchell: A Survey, 1952–1992, Kukje Gallery, Seoul


Frémicourt Paintings, 1960–62, Cheim & Read, New York Joan Mitchell: Prints from the Foundation, Susan Sheehan Gallery, New York Joan Mitchell: The 1946–1952 Sketchbook Drawings and Related Works, Pollock Gallery, Southern Methodist University, Dallas Joan Mitchell Sketchbook 1941–51, Francis M. Naumann, New York


Joan Mitchell, The Presence of Absence: Selected Paintings, 1956–1992, Cheim & Read, New York Joan Mitchell, Robert Miller Gallery, New York Joan Mitchell: Petit, Lennon, Weinberg, Inc., New York The Paintings of Joan Mitchell, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; traveled to Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, Alabama; Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Fort Worth, Texas; Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.; Des Moines Art Center, Des Moines, Iowa Joan Mitchell: Memory Abstracted, Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art, New York Joan Mitchell Working with Poets: Pastels and Paintings, Tibor de Nagy, New York


The Nature of Abstraction: Joan Mitchell Paintings, Drawings, and Prints, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota


Joan Mitchell: From Nature to Abstraction, Nave Museum, Victoria, Texas Joan Mitchell: Paintings 1950–1955 from the Estate of Joan Mitchell, Robert Miller Gallery, New York


Joan Mitchell, IVAM Centre Julio Gonzáles, Valencia, Spain Joan Mitchell: Selected Paintings, Lennon, Weinberg, Inc., New York Joan Mitchell, Galerie Won, Seoul Pastels by Joan Mitchell, Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C.


Joan Mitchell: Pastels, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Rouen, France Joan Mitchell: Paintings from 1956 to 1958, Robert Miller Gallery, New York


Joan Mitchell: Tilleuls 1978 Huiles sur toile & Pastels, Galerie Jean Fournier, Paris Joan Mitchell: Pastels, Les Cordeliers Châteauroux, France Joan Mitchell: Selected Paintings and Pastels 1950–1990, Manfred Baumgartner Galleries, Inc., Washington, D.C.


Joan Mitchell: Pastels, Galerie Jean Fournier, Paris Joan Mitchell “ black paintings...”1964, Robert Miller Gallery, New York Joan Mitchell: Oeuvres de 1951 à 1982, Musée des Beaux Arts de Nantes, France Joan Mitchell: les dernières années 1983–1992, Galerie Nationale du Jeu de Paume, Paris Joan Mitchell: Works on Paper, Montgomery-Glasoe Gallery, Minneapolis, Minnesota Joan Mitchell in Vétheuil, Newport Harbor Art Museum, Newport Beach, California


83rd Annual Exhibition: Joan Mitchell, Maier Museum of Art, Randolph– Macon Woman’s College, Lynchburg, Virginia Joan Mitchell, Galerie Ulrike Barthel, Bremen, Germany Joan Mitchell: 26 Farbige Radierungen, 1972–1989, Galerie Daniel Blau, Munich, Germany Joan Mitchell 1992, Robert Miller Gallery, New York Joan Mitchell Prints and Illustrated Books: A Retrospective, Susan Sheehan Gallery, New York Joan Mitchell: Etchings and Lithographs, Pace Prints, New York


Joan Mitchell: New Prints, Bobbie Greenfield Fine Art, Venice, California Joan Mitchell, Le Fonds Régional d’Art Contemporain (FRAC) de HauteNormandie & l’Association des Amis du Château d’Etelan, Château d’Etelan, Saint-Maurice-d’Etelan, France

Joan Mitchell, Galerie Jean Fournier, Paris Joan Mitchell: Trees & Other Paintings 1960 to 1990, Laura Carpenter Fine Art, Santa Fe, New Mexico Joan Mitchell: Pastel, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Joan Mitchell: Recent Lithographs, Susan Sheehan Gallery, New York Joan Mitchell: Sunflowers and Trees Series, Tyler Graphics, Mt. Kisco, New York 1991

Joan Mitchell, Robert Miller Gallery, New York


Joan Mitchell: Paintings and Drawings, Barbara Mathes Gallery, New York Joan Mitchell: Champs, Galerie Jean Fournier, Paris


Joan Mitchell, Robert Miller Gallery, New York


Joan Mitchell: Selected Paintings Spanning Thirty Years, Manny Silverman Gallery, Los Angeles The Paintings of Joan Mitchell: Thirty-Six Years of Natural Expressionism, organized by Judith Bernstock and the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York; traveled to Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York; La Jolla Museum of Contemporary Art, La Jolla, California; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York


Joan Mitchell: Peintures, 1986 et 1987 – River, Lille, Chord, Galerie Jean Fournier, Paris


Joan Mitchell: An Exhibition of Paintings and Works on Paper, Keny & Johnson Gallery, Columbus, Ohio Joan Mitchell: New Paintings, Xavier Fourcade, Inc., New York


Joan Mitchell: The Sixties, Xavier Fourcade, Inc., New York


Joan Mitchell: La Grande Vallée et autres peintures, Galerie Jean Fournier at Foire Internationale d’Art Contemporain, Grand Palais, Paris Joan Mitchell – La Grande Vallée, Galerie Jean Fournier, Paris


Joan Mitchell: New Paintings, Xavier Fourcade, Inc., New York


Joan Mitchell: Choix des peintures 1970–1982, Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, Paris


Joan Mitchell: Paintings and Works on Paper, Janie C. Lee Gallery, Houston Joan Mitchell: New Paintings, Xavier Fourcade, Inc., New York Joan Mitchell, Gloria Luria Gallery, Bay Harbor, Florida


Joan Mitchell, Galerie Jean Fournier, Paris Joan Mitchell: Major Paintings, Richard Hines Gallery, Seattle, Washington Joan Mitchell: The Fifties, Important Paintings, Xavier Fourcade, Inc., New York


Joan Mitchell, Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco


Joan Mitchell, Galerie Jean Fournier, Paris Joan Mitchell, Webb and Parsons Gallery, Bedford Village, New York Joan Mitchell: New Paintings and Pastels, Ruth S. Schaffner Gallery, Los Angeles


Joan Mitchell, New Paintings, 1977, Xavier Fourcade, Inc., New York


Joan Mitchell, New Paintings, 1976, Xavier Fourcade, Inc., New York Joan Mitchell, Galerie Jean Fournier, Paris


Joan Mitchell, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Joan Mitchell: Recent Paintings, Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago


Joan Mitchell, Ruth Schaffner Gallery, Los Angeles


My Five Years in the Country: An Exhibition of Forty-Nine Paintings by Joan Mitchell, Everson Museum of Art, Syracuse, New York; traveled to Martha Jackson Gallery, New York, where work was exhibited as Blue Series 1970–1971 and The Fields Series 1971–1972


Joan Mitchell, Galerie Jean Fournier et Cie, Paris


Joan Mitchell, Galerie Jean Fournier et Cie, Paris


Joan Mitchell: Recent Paintings, Martha Jackson Gallery, New York


Joan Mitchell, Galerie Jean Fournier et Cie, Paris


Joan Mitchell, Stable Gallery, New York


Joan Mitchell: Ausstellung von Ölbildern, Galerie Klipstein und Kornfeld, Bern, Switzerland Joan Mitchell, Galerie Jacques Dubourg, Paris Joan Mitchell, Galerie Lawrence, Paris Paintings by Joan Mitchell, New Gallery, Hayden Library, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts


Joan Mitchell Paintings 1951–1961, Mr. and Mrs. John Russell Mitchell Gallery, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, Illinois Joan Mitchell, Dwan Gallery, Los Angeles Recent Paintings by Joan Mitchell, Stable Gallery, New York Joan Mitchell, B.C. Holland Gallery, Chicago Joan Mitchell, Holland-Goldowsky Galllery, Chicago


Joan Mitchell, Galleria dell’Ariete, Milan Joan Mitchell, Gallery Neufville, Paris


Joan Mitchell, Stable Gallery, New York


Joan Mitchell, Stable Gallery, New York


Joan Mitchell, Stable Gallery, New York


Joan Mitchell, Stable Gallery, New York


Joan Mitchell, Stable Gallery, New York


Joan Mitchell, New Gallery, New York


Joan Mitchell, St. Paul Gallery and School of Art, St. Paul, Minnesota Paintings by Joan Mitchell, Bank Lane Gallery, Lake Forest, Illinois Solo exhibition, home of Mrs. George Roberts, Lake Forest, Illinois


Solo exhibition, Francis Parker School, Chicago

PUBLIC COLLECTIONS Addison Gallery of American Art, Andover, Massachusetts Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo, New York Allen Art Museum at Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio Anderson Collection at Stanford University, Stanford, California Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Arts Club of Chicago, Chicago Berardo Museum – Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art, Lisbon Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, Alabama Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas, Austin, Texas Boca Raton Museum of Art, Boca Raton, Florida Butler Institute of Contemporary Art, Youngstown, Ohio Castellani Art Museum, Niagara University, Lewiston, New York

Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, Maine Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire Daros-Exhibitions, Zürich Dayton Art Institute, Dayton, Ohio Denver Art Museum, Denver, Colorado Empire State Plaza Art Collection, Albany, New York Fogg Art Museum, Cambridge, Massachusetts Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Jouy-en-Josas, France Fondation Maeght, Saint-Paul, France Fonds Regional d’Art Contemporain, Haute-Normandie, Sotteville-lès-Rouen, France Fonds Regional d’Art Contemporain, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, Marseille, France Fonds National d’Art Contemporain, Puteaux, France Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York Fundation de 11 Lijnen, Oudenburg, Belgium Georgia Museum of Art, Atlanta, Georgia Hillman Foundation, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. Hofstra University Museum, Hempstead, New York Indianapolis Museum of Art, Indianapolis, Indiana J. Paul Getty Trust, Los Angeles James A. Michener Collection, University of Texas, Austin, Texas Johnson Wax Collection, National Collection of Fine Arts, Washington, D.C. Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri LAAC – Lieu d’Art et Action Contemporaine de Dunkerque, Dunkerque, France LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton Foundation, Paris McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Musée des Beaux-Arts de Caen, Caen, France Musée National d’Art Moderne, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris Museum of Art, Carnegie Institute, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville, Florida Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney, Australia Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts Museum of Modern Art, New York Museum of the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Rhode Island National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C. Osaka City Art Museum of Modern Art, Osaka, Japan Phillips Collection, Washington, D.C. Rockefeller Institute, New York Saint Louis Art Museum, Saint Louis, Missouri Samsung Museum, Seoul, South Korea San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, California Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, Houston Shizuoka Prefectural Museum of Art, Shizuoka-shi, Japan Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York Tate Gallery, London Ulster Museum, Belfast, Northern Ireland University of Kentucky Art Museum, Lexington, Kentucky University of Michigan Museum of Art, Ann Arbor, Michigan Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota Whitney Museum of American Art, New York Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, Massachusetts Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut

Jasper Johns, Corpse and Mirror II, 1974–75, oil on linen (four panels), with painted frame, 57 5/8 x 75 1/4 in. © Jasper Johns/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY. Collection the Art Institute of Chicago. Joan Mitchell, Chicago, 1966–67; oil on canvas, 102 x 191 in. Private collection. Cy Twombly, Goethe in Italy (Scene I), 1978, part 1: acrylic on paper 46 7/8 x 24 3/8 in; part II: oil paint on canvas, 76 5/8 x 63 3/8 in. Collection Kunsthaus Zürich. © Cy Twombly Foundation, courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Frontispiece and page 21: Photograph: Rudy Burckhardt. © 2016 Estate of Rudy Burckhardt/Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York. Back matter: Joan Mitchell in her Vétheuil studio, 1991. Photograph: David Turnley/Corbis Historical/Getty Images. Back of dust jacket: Joan Mitchell, Untitled, 1967, colored pencil and watercolor on paper, 14 1/2 x 9 1/4 in. Photography of Mitchell artwork Chris Burke and Brian Buckley. Portraits of Joan Mitchell courtesy of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Archives. All Joan Mitchell artwork images © Estate of Joan Mitchell. Courtesy Joan Mitchell Foundation. Printed in Italy by Trifolio. ISBN 978–1–944316–05–1 We extend our sincere thanks to Christa Blatchford, Kira Osti, Laura Morris and the Board of the Joan Mitchell Foundation.

Published on the occasion of the 2016 Cheim & Read exhibition

Jo a n Mi tche l l drawing into

Painting Design John Cheim Essay Mark Rosenthal Editor Ellen Robinson

Joan Mitchell drawing into Painting

Joan Mitchell drawing into

mitchell 2016 dust jacket.indd 1

Cheim & Read

C he i m & R e a d

Painting 11/17/16 12:22 PM

Joan Mitchell: Drawing into Painting  
Joan Mitchell: Drawing into Painting  

Catalogue for the 2016 Cheim & Read exhibition. Text by Mark Rosenthal