Joan Mitchell (1925-1992)
Property from a Distinguished West Coast Collection
Joan Mitchell (1925-1992)


Joan Mitchell (1925-1992)
oil on canvas
28 ¾  x 23 ½ in. (73 x 59.6 cm.)
Painted in 1968.
Martha Jackson Gallery, New York
Fourcade, Droll, Inc., New York
André Emmerich Gallery, New York
Private collection, Medina, Washington, 1976
By descent from the above to the present owner
New York, Martha Jackson Gallery, Joan Mitchell: Recent Paintings, April 1968.


“I paint from remembered landscapes that I carry with me—and remembered feelings of them, which of course become transformed. I certainly could never mirror nature. I would like more to paint what it leaves me with”—Joan Mitchell

(J. Mitchell, quoted in J. E. Bernstock, Joan Mitchell, exh. cat., New York, 1988, p. 31).

A lyrical combination of an Abstract Expressionist command of gesture with an appreciation of nature’s beauty captured by French painters over the centuries, Untitled is a masterful example of Joan Mitchell’s singular style during a pivotal period of personal growth and artistic development. In 1967, after the death of her mother left her with an inheritance sizable enough to purchase an estate in Vétheuil, Mitchell moved from Paris to the bucolic French countryside. Surrounded by expansive gardens of flourishing flowers and lush trees, with sweeping views the Seine, living in the French countryside heightened Mitchell’s sensitivity to the natural world and connected her work to the tradition of plein air painters and Impressionists of the prior century. Evoking the splendor of her beloved Vétheuil, Untitled emanates with the newfound sense of joy and artistic freedom that Mitchell experienced from her new surroundings. Leaving the canvas white in some areas and building heavy impasto in others, Mitchell creates a luminous white receptacle for passages of brilliantly worked colors; thick, staccato swaths of cerulean blue hover like dense clouds, while fine streams of liquid chroma linger like a hazy fog. Indicative of the artist’s painterly process, the unparalleled dexterity with which Mitchell applies paint to the surface creates a harmonious balance in Untitled, between figure and ground, paint and surface, space and density. Reconciling her interests of nature, emotion, and painting, the present work encapsulates the unique, intimate way in which Mitchell simultaneously channels the resplendent atmosphere of Vétheuil while exposing her own internal landscape.

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