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Joan Mitchell's City Landscape

'In City Landscape, painted in 1955, a tangle of various colors - pale pink, scarlet, mustard, sienna and black - evoke the streets of a bustling metropolis. The spontaneous energy conveyed in the composition is at odds with Mitchell's slow and deliberate process.'

I paint a little, then I sit and look at the painting, sometimes for hours. Eventually, the painting tells me what to do.


From Janina Ciezadlo's "Joan Mitchell's Life and Art - Brutal and Beautiful" in New City, 2011:

[An] extraordinarily detailed biography on Joan Mitchell will be particularly compelling to Chicagoans for the picture it offers of a financially and culturally privileged girlhood on the Near North Side during the 1930s and ['40s].

Mitchell, the daughter of an overbearing doctor, who "wanted his daughters to compete like boys, but also, confusingly, to behave like little ladies," grew up with mixed messages. Her mother was an editor for Harriet Monroe's modernist journal Poetry and friends with Chicago artists like Manierre Dawson.

Her maternal grandfather, Charles Louis Strobel, a steel and wrought-iron engineer, a colleague of Louis Sullivan, John Holabird and Sylvia Shaw Judson, among others, constructed the rolling bascule bridge at Van Buren Street.

Mitchell grew up in Streeterville, on East Chestnut Street, and later the family acquired a floor of a building at 1530 North State Parkway close to the lake. They "summered" in Lake Forest.

However, her years at the progressive Francis Parker School, the Art Institute and Ox-Bow were formative. She was, if I have this correctly, while studying at the AIC, simultaneously a member of the Communist Party and listed in the Chicago Blue Book, the social register.


Via Wikipedia:

"Mitchell is recognized as a principal figure - and one of the few female artists - in the second generation of American Abstract Expressionists.

"By the early 1950s, she was regarded as a leading artist in the New York School. In her early years as a painter, she was influenced by Paul C├ęzanne, Wassily Kandinsky, Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, and later by the work of Franz Kline and Willem de Kooning, Jean-Paul Riopelle, among others."


Joan Mitchell, Lady Painter.


Comments welcome.


Posted on August 10, 2020

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