American painter and printmaker Joan Mitchell was born in Chicago, Illinois in 1925, and was a key member of the American abstract expressionist movement. She initially studied at The Art Institute in Chicago but moved later to New York to study at Hans Hoffman’s school. However, she attended only one class and left, stating that she did not understand a word. Her travels following this took her to France, Spain and Italy.
Mitchell’s work is particularly pioneering as her success was found at a point in the 1950s when the work of female artists was rarely recognised. Her work can be recognised through its bold colours, sweeping brushstrokes and often large-sized paintings comprising of multiple panels. Though her inspiration came from natural beauty, such as landscapes, she did not want to convey traditional scenes, her focus was on emotion.
Joan Mitchell died in Paris in 1992. Her paintings are exhibited in major art museums around both the United States and Europe, including The Museum of Modern Art in New York and the Tate Gallery in London.. The Joan Mitchell Foundation, founded a year after her death in 1993, supports the art world by giving awards and grants to painters, sculptors and collectives.