A graduate of the Art Institute of Chicago, Joan Mitchell moved away from her academic training in 1949 to a style inspired by Paul Cezanne, Vincent Van Gogh, and Wassily Kandinsky. After settling in New York in 1950, she abandoned representation entirely and turned to painting abstractions based on her response to landscape. Mitchell exhibited her work regularly throughout the fifties, showing alongside artists such as Willem de Kooning, Jackson Pollock, and Hans Hofmann. As a leading figure of the Abstract Expressionist movement, her art is characterized by many layers of vibrant color inspired not by emotion and the subconscious, but by her surroundings.
Joan Mitchell, c. 1962. Photographer unknown, Joan Mitchell Foundation Archives.