• 1989
  • Joan Mitchell
  • Oil on canvas
  • 280 x 400 cm

The composition of these diptychs is reminiscent of a poem with their stanzas and repetition. Even if the spectator finds themselves immersed in her paintings, she painted them to be viewed from a distance, and all at once.
This painting entitled River is inspired by the Seine that flowed not far from her studio in Vétheuil, the village where Claude Monet used to paint around 1880.
These two artists had many things in common: their constant observation of nature, the way they paid special attention to their use of colour and capturing light effects, the large scale dimensions of their artworks (when we think back to Monet's Water Lilies), paintings that pay little attention to horizons or perspective.

This artwork is presented during the "Joan Mitchell, Retrospective" (from 5 October 2022 to 27 February 2023) at the Fondation Louis Vuitton.

© The Estate of Joan Mitchell © Fondation Louis Vuitton / Marc Domage


Joan Mitchell

Joan Mitchell was trained and achieved recognition in the New York scene in the 1950s before gradually settling in Paris at the end of the decade and establishing her studio in 1968 in Vétheuil—where Claude Monet lived for several years. 

The importance given to gesture, the choice of imposing formats, and the use of pure colors all place her work within American Abstract Expressionism. But this lyrical grammar encounters an interior version connected to landscape and nature, and conveys its vitality. Mitchell worked from memory. She painted neither reality nor memories, but rather her perception of things and space. Her recurrent use of panel painting enabled her to control the composition of her paintings in which strident, overlapping colors create tension, while contributing to overall harmony.

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