The American painter Joan Mitchell was born on February 12, 1925 or 1926 in Chicago (Illinois). She is a representative of abstract expressionism. Joan Mitchell initially studied from 1942 to 1944 at Smith College in Northampton (Massachusetts). During this time, she also experimented with the lithography technique for the first time. In addition, she also dedicated herself to plein air painting in Saugatuck (Michigan). Mitchell continued her studies at the Art Institute in Chicago in 1944 and completed them in 1947 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. She became familiar with the works Henri Matisse (1869 – 1954), Paul Cézanne (1839 – 1906), and Wassily Kandinsky (1866 – 1944) in the institute’s collection.
The artist spent her summer holidays in Mexico and painted in Guajanuto. In 1948, Joan Mitchell received a scholarship to study in Paris. She married Barney Rosset (*1922), the founder of the Grove Press, during this stay in France.
The artist stayed in New York after returning to the USA in 1950 and devoted herself to avantgardist painting. The works of Franz Kline (1910 – 62) and Willem de Kooning (1904 – 97) influenced her continued artistic development. The first individual exhibition by Joan Mitchell also took place in 1950 at the Saint Paul Gallery in Saint Paul (Minnesota). During the following period, she went on trips to Haiti, Cuba, and Mexico.
Joan Mitchell also became a member of the artist group "The Club", which met at the Cedar Tavern, and participated in its group exhibition entitled Ninth Street: Exhibition of Paintings and Sculpture. Between the years 1950 and 1955, she had a studio at St. Marks Place. During a trip to France in 1955,Joan Mitchell met the Canadian painter Jean-Paul Riopelle (1923 – 2002), with whom she then had a mutual apartment in Paris. But she continued to stay in New York on a regular basis. In 1968, the artist moved to the Parisian suburb of Vétheuil.
Joan Mitchell died here on October 30, 1992. One year after the death of the artist, the Joan Mitchell Foundation was founded with its headquarters at 155 Avenue of the Americas in Manhattan.