Joan Mitchell

In her large-scale abstract paintings, Mitchell (b.1925) was quite frank in describing her informal and to some degree, autonomous method of depicting land and cityscapes. Mitchell received her formal academic training from the Art Institute of Chicago in the late 1940s, thereafter moving to Europe and developing her quintessential form of abstraction. After returning to New York in the 1950s, her technical ability and revelatory approach to abstraction made her a fixture amongst the male-dominated abstract expressionists and opened the door for the 9th street women- a group consisting of Lee Krasner, Helen Frankenthaler and Elaine De-Kooning. It cannot be overstated the effect that the artist had on ushering in a new generation of female artists as innovative and technically brilliant as their male peers. For this reason, it is no stretch to say that Mitchell's lyrical paintings characterized by varied textures, brilliant colors and gestural brush marks that opened the door for female abstract expressionists and created a market, that to this day remains under speculated and overwhelmingly innovative. Many of her most beloved artistic periods, ranging from the black paintings to La Grande Vallée series are characterized by sustained recollection of landscape, created in the studio from her memories, and birthing a sense of space, light and energy more than referring to a specific place.