Joan Mitchell was born in Chicago in 1925. She was an important member of the American Abstract expressionist movement. She was a pioneer for women artists working at the time along with Lee Krasner, Grace Hartigan, and Helen Frankenthaler and enjoyed critical acclaim.
She studied at Smith College in Massachusetts and The Art Institute of Chicago. She received a $2,000 travel fellowship that allowed her to study in Paris and Provence in 1948-49. Landscapes were a favorite influence on her subject matter. She painted on unprimed canvas with expressive gestural,brushstrokes. She has described a painting as, “an organism that turns in space”.
After moving to Paris in 1959, she moved away from the bright colors of her earlier compositions, instead using more sombre hues. Her compositions also became more dense with central masses of color. Mitchell’s work is included in many museum collections including Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Art Institute of Chicago; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Tate Gallery, London; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.