Guide Joan Mitchell: Lady Painter

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It was at this point that Mitchell recognized an urge to remake herself -- and remake herself she did. She unabashedly sought the addresses of the artists whose works she was discovering, and went a-knocking on the studio door of the likes of Franz Kline and Willem de Kooning. They let her in -- how to resist? She had the litheness and beauty of a bosomy Lauren Bacall -- and offered her guidance and support for her own painting.

She met and fell in love with the painter Michael Goldberg, whose influence might have had more import upon her art career than Albers gives him credit for. A savvy New Yorker, Goldberg had quickly absorbed the painterly ways of his slightly older peers and, like them, he pretended to dismiss European art while taking all there was to take from it, adding American jazz to the mix, for example. All of this, young Michael gladly shared with Joan, who went back to school and took quite a few classes in art history at Columbia University. Mike's persona -- the self created artist, street smart, rough and down to earth -- was unlike anything the Chicago heiress had ever met before.

But also the fact that Mike was a painter. Barney Rosset, in contrast, was merely a "civilian. The large 6 x 6 ft. Even so, the word on Joan in was that her work looked "tasty French" -- too correct, too academic, too finished, too steeped in Cubism. She would ultimately have 12 exhibitions there. But her relationship with the Ab-Ex group did not proceed seamlessly; her social standing, in the eyes of her New York peers, was never totally favorable -- though the men seemed to like her more than the women. Herewith, a few scenes in which Joan is the star, as collected by her biographer:.


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Once, as she arrived at The Club, still paint-speckled from work, artist Walter Kamys tossed out an offer to take her to dinner after she cleaned up, and she flipped back, "Go fuck yourself, Walter! And I said 'Hi' and looked at Franz, and he was a different man. And he said, 'Anything I can do for you? And then Joan was there, and I said, 'Hi, sweetheart. If success was within reach, it did not give Mitchell peace of mind. There is lots of good googling that has gone on about the de Koonings, Franz Kline, Sam Francis, Frankenthaler, and on and on and on.

I am a confessed Joan Mitchell nerd and mostly was forcing myself to read this because it was expensive and I had to justify buying it, but once I hit the section where she was having an affair with Samuel Beckett? Turns out everybody was like "Joan you're too much of a booze hound to own a car" and she was like "yeah, that makes sense. And her paintings are still so alive when they are alive. To quote our pal Patricia, they have my favorite thing about this kind of painting which I have never been able to put my finger on before, "the Great Abstract Expressionist Mark; fear, fury, aloneness, and love.

And here are two sections that stood out to me: Joan was rarely a tottering drunk - in other words, she was a true alcoholic. She drank to ward off anxiety and bolster her feelings of self-worth, even though alcohol exacerbated the self-doubts she projected as hypercritical hostility and kept her in depressive cycles. But most fundamentally she drank to get her conscious mind out of the way when she painted.

Painting had to rise above the ordinary. Reason had to fall to the wayside. Joan told one friend that if she did not drink she could not paint. I might read a poem. I might have another Scotch.

Joan Mitchell: Lady Painter : a Life - Patricia Albers - Google Книги

I might talk to one of my dogs. Poetry and music helped: Rilke, of course "Let everything happen to you: No feeling is final" , and the timelessly beautiful Four Last Songs of Richard Strauss, which culminate in serene surrender to the inevitability of death. Joan saw friends, followed tennis and figure skating on TV, fretted over the state of the world, and painted. She may have felt able to salvage from her illness even more intensity than before for her work; on the other hand, she sometimes moped around La Tour, questioning the worth of what she had created: Apr 11, Patricia Ogden rated it it was amazing.

Joan Mitchell

This is a really fine book - I kept having to google each painting as it was discussed, and luckily, I had seen quite a few of them before reading this. This comes to me later, after long looking and reading, when visual hunger is deeply sated, and turns away. Their immediacy fills the room, engagement is so sudden. Is charm ever honest? It is as if she saw into the heart of creation, telling a modern story. Not for her the majesty of Genesis, the Spirit moving upon the deep void, a divine adagio of majestic largesse.

Nor does she find horror in its heart. I am compelled to gaze and find wonder and awe, and there will be no possibility of despair, though any consideration of the natural world includes the ineluctable passing of time. Her creation story is orchestrated by a fierce divinity of power and might, one who gives no quarter to those who would deny the mighty work done. None can quail before it, or take refuge in dissembling, gentling, or gloss. She would probably scoff at the Big Bang theory, seeing it as orderly power, as if it were some cosmic fireworks joke.

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She knows the chthonic void and she tells of chaos, before and when creation begins. Her defiance is to insist upon my recognition of this. She will not let me hide in pretty, but if I wish, I can possess real compassion, much more painful to own, but authentic in its power. According to her biographer, Patricia Albers, she had an eidetic memory coupled with an unusual range of synesthetic perceptions. Her paintings, she said, were emotional records of her feelings, but eidetic memories are deeply real and vivid, and coupled with the synesthesia she experienced, must have her interior life most unique and rich.

Though Impressionism needs no more validating, I think Mitchell found one of those seminal strands present in all great art, and pursued it in an authentic and celebratory response to its accomplishments. How far she took it is a marvel, and how easy it is to let it all happen to you. Bonnard, Matisse, Avery - this vivid, chromatic, hyper-intensity, the complements sounding like the bells of Notre Dame. Friends were insulted, degraded, petted and prized as her volatile intellect and emotions drove her.

Joan Mitchell, Lady Painter

Once living in France, her response to the beauty of le paysage and a deepened profound response to Impressionism fused and she created some of her greatest paintings. Family wealth permitted her to purchase La Tour, a country home near Giverney. The forms of nature became her singular subject, in serial and deliberately spontaneous progressions. But now let us speak of the sunflowers.

She was particularly compelled by the drying stalks in her garden, their unique iconographic French character, and of course, Van Gogh. For her, though, it is not the rational presence within their brown breasts, the Fibonacci spiral pattern which gives mute evidence of intentional structure that moves her - it is their temporality, their fierce and ragged glorious strength. The richly browned head bends over on its stalk in the painting on the left, its curve poignantly conveying the heavy burden it lifts so high into the summer sky. It seems to see itself reflected in a bright yellow pool.

The petals and hearts are released, floating yet fixed, in a wild unguarded, yet revealed moment. Thanks for the memory, Sinatra singing, tipping his hat, done it my way. It was, perhaps, her only prayer. Sep 09, erica rated it liked it Shelves: Barely out of the first chapter and already hoping I make it to the end. Pretty bad writing so far- author keeps inserting "arty" analogies: I typically enjoy long, lyrical sentence structure but these are clunky and trying too hard to be descriptive with trivial detail that just comes across Barely out of the first chapter and already hoping I make it to the end.

I typically enjoy long, lyrical sentence structure but these are clunky and trying too hard to be descriptive with trivial detail that just comes across as juvenile " The book cites numerous sources at the end, but these aren't footnoted within the text. Book became easier to read as author moved away from detailed and mostly irrelevant family history and on to Mitchell's own life. Still rather disorganized despite the straightforward chronological approach , and repetitive but I did get drawn into certain sections of her life- early years in NY, Paris and sailing around the Med.

Having been to many of the places mentioned in the book that have now become famous haunts if not now tourist traps , it's fun to imagine the artists cavorting there. That said, it soon became sort of an endless list of people with whom Mitchell partied partly Mitchell's fault perhaps for seemingly being a complete emotional drain to hang with. I skipped the paragraphs describing Mitchell's paintings, I don't need to be influenced by someone's arbitrary written interpretations of visual works. Nonetheless, this did provide a general picture of what I was hoping to learn: Still too many lazy descriptions of things as "Hofmanesque.

Not everyone will "like" Joan Mitchell. A classic "difficult" personality, she struggled with the gender bias of the fifties Abstract Expressionist era to become an accomplished and successful painter. She emerges as as an amazing individual, indomitable, sexy, loud, alcoholic, vulgar, passionate, socially brutal, insecure, ambitious, fearful, moody, vindictive, devoted to her friends and lovers, and haunted by the demons of memory and emotion, which she experienced directly as color and form.

T Not everyone will "like" Joan Mitchell. The author argues that she was a true full-blown synesthete, and experienced words, people, emotions, places, and memories directly as colors: Some of the most fascinating and beautiful passages deal with her intutitive and passionate color expression, for example: Jan 30, Mike Tracy rated it really liked it.

I love her work- definitely in my top ten, but what emerges is a portrait of a thoroughly unlikeable person. I also suspect that the story of her artistic life would have been completely different had she not come from a family of means who supported her financially for many years while she established herself. Still, she spent it well. Jun 24, Ivan rated it it was ok. Another test of my Frank Sinatra rule: This author only starts, and then only starts again, to engage the wonder of these paintings, and instead chooses to psychologize a seemingly indulged, lifelong child. But like the biographies of DeKooning and Pollock, I can never get enough descriptions of the Cedar Bar in the 50s, and a time when poetry and music were more entwined with the milieu of visual art than they are now.

Jul 12, Terri Dowell-dennis rated it really liked it. You can tell that Patricia Albers loves her subject. This biography ebbs and flows.

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At one point, I thought I would likely not finish it. The tale is a brutal read, often depressing, and as I looked at Mitchell's work on line I began to feel as though this artist needed an editor and no one was quite up to taking on the task. I wish there were more illustrations in the book to accompany Albers vivid descriptions. What remains is to see some of Mitchell's paintings now.

Aug 16, The Book: A card-carrying member of the Eighth Street Club and a regular fixture at the Cedar Tavern, she considered her friend and lover Willem de Kooning her father and her Freudian analyst Edrita Fried her mother. Jan 30, Dave Holcomb rated it liked it. Very readable, but very grim. My only real complaint, however, is the way the writer describes or refers to various pieces of artwork throughout the book, but then does not provide photos. There are only a half-dozen or so reproductions of Mitchell's art included, and none of them is all that relevant to the text. Mar 05, Michael rated it it was amazing.

A fascinating biography of one of the great abstract e press ironists, along with DeKoonong, pollack A difficult sometimes extremely unpleasant woman who struggled with the bias against women in the art world, who remained totally dedicated to her art, in fact life was her art and who struggled with her demons all her life.

With her sense that Wheatfield with Crows was a suicide note, she painted a painting called No Birds as a response and as an homage. After moving to Paris in , Mitchell began painting in a studio on the rue Fremicourt in the 15th arrondissement of Paris. The marks on these works were said to be extraordinary: According to art historian Linda Nochlin , the "meaning and emotional intensity [of Mitchell's pictures] are produced structurally, as it were, by a whole series of oppositions: Mitchell said that she wanted her paintings "to convey the feeling of the dying sunflower" and "some of them come out like young girls, very coy In October , the first major feature on her work method appeared in ARTnews.

December saw Mitchell's first retrospective exhibition, [18] which she referred to as being art-historized live.


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  6. Mitchell's first solo show at Robert Miller Gallery of nine paintings ran from October 25 to November 25, Established in as a not-for-profit corporation, the Joan Mitchell Foundation awards grants and stipends to painters, sculptors , and artist collectives ; past grantees have included Nicole Eisenman , Glenn Ligon , Troy Brauntuch , Karen Kilimnik , Sarah Morris , Nyame Brown , Mark Dion , Julie L.

    Already during her lifetime, Mitchell was rewarded with a considerable degree of commercial success. The result also established a new record for an artwork by any female artist at auction, formerly held by Berthe Morisot 's Apres le dejeuner Mitchell married American publisher Barney Rosset in in Paris.

    Rosset was a Chicago-born American entrepreneur and former owner of the publishing house Grove Press , who is perhaps best known as the American publisher of the novel Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller. They divorced in From the early s, when Mitchell's health began to fail, until , when she died, her work changed significantly. In October, she obtained a second opinion from Jean-Pierre Bataini, a pioneer in radiation oncology with the Curie Institute , whose therapy was successful, but left Mitchell with a dead jawbone osteonecrosis , along with anxiety and depression.

    She had quit smoking on doctor's orders, but remained a heavy drinker. After , Mitchell's post-cancer paintings reflect the psychological changes cancer had effected: Mitchell developed osteoarthritis as a result of hip dysplasia. During her subsequent recuperation at a clinic in Louveciennes , she started watercolor painting. Her postoperative difficulties necessitated using an easel and working on a smaller format. Her River cycle is emblematic of this period. Mitchell was a great admirer of Henri Matisse , especially the vividness of his color and vivacity of his line, once claiming that, "If I could paint like Matisse, I'd be in heaven.

    The trip resulted in the Lille cycle of paintings, followed, after Xavier Fourcade's death on April 28, , by the Chord paintings. A passionate inner vision guided Joan's brush.