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Joan Mitchell

Kertess, Klaus

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ISBN 10: 0810942976 / ISBN 13: 9780810942974
Published by Harry N. Abrams, 1997
Condition: Very Good Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Joan Mitchell

Publisher: Harry N. Abrams

Publication Date: 1997

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


Joan Mitchell (1926-1992) was one of the most distinguished artists to be associated with the Abstract Expressionist movement. Winning a place for herself in the heavily male-dominated New York art world of the 1950s, she soon achieved recognition as a leading exponent of the gestural style. Yet her work is not as widely appreciated in the United States as it deserves to be, in part because she chose to live in France during the later decades of her life.
This volume is the first comprehensive presentation of Mitchell's work since her death. In her will, she directed that a longtime friend, Klaus Kertess, write the accompanying text. Kertess provides a richly textured account of Mitchell's life and work, tracing her evolution from her earliest efforts as a young artist in Chicago and her arrival in New York in the 1940s. He gives special attention to the array of gifted painters and poets in the legendary New York art scene of the 1950s, when Mitchell first made her mark, and discusses at length Mitchell's friendships with artists such as Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline and writers such as Frank O'Hara.


As an artist, Joan Mitchell's talents and significance were often overshadowed by the time and place of her work. While living in New York in the 1950s, for instance, she had to share a stage with such luminaries as Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning, a feat further complicated by her gender. Second, she chose to live in France for the last decades of her life, causing her to slip from the collective memory of most Americans. Regardless of this undeservedly diminished stature, Mitchell will go down in history as a leader of the Abstract Expressionist movement, leaving behind an impressive and influential body of work. Joan Mitchell is very much a labor of love, since, in her will, the artist asked her longtime friend Klaus Kertess to write the text for this collection, a task that he completes with style and skill. Along with revealing her personality and motivations, Kertess does an admirable job of detailing the impressive artistic circles Mitchell ran in while living in Chicago, New York, and Paris. This volume exhibits 120 pieces of her work, as well as a detailed and comprehensive biographical chronology that is sure to help jog some memories.

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