Joan Mitchell

First UK museum exhibition

27 July - 3 October 2010. Tues - Sun, 10am - 5.30pm

"I paint from landscapes of the memory I carry with me

and feelings from the memory of them which naturally become transformed...

I prefer to leave nature to itself. I do not intend to improve it...

I could never mirror it. I love most of all what it leaves inside me."


During the Edinburgh Art Festival 2010 Inverleith was delighted to present the first museum exhibition in the UK devoted to the artist Joan Mitchell (1925 - 1992) who is widely regarded as one of the most singular and important American painters of the post war period.

Mitchell studied at the Art Insititute of Chicago before mobing to New York in the late 1940s where she became the youngest member of the Abstract Expressionist movement, enjoying the support of artists such as Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline. In 1959 she left the United States and moved to France, where she lived and worked for the rest of her life. There she developed a highly personal painterly style - synthesizing an Abstract Expressionist tendency with the traditions of High European painting.

The exhibition comprised of seven paintings on canvas and five works on paper (from public and private collections in Europe and America), made throughout the artist's career from 1958 to 1992 and it considers  Mitchell's work in light of her love of nature and poetry A poet's painter, Mitchell was a lifelong reader of William Wordsworth, John Clare, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Wallace Stevens and Rainer Maria Rilke. During her time in New York she befriended key figures of the then emerging New York school of poetry (James Schuyler, Frank O'Hara, and John Ashbery), while in France she came to know Samuel Beckett and Jacques Dupin. Like these writers, Mitchell expressed through her painting a complex interplay of emotion, memory and sense of place.

On display on the lower-ground floor was a selection of archival material from the Joan Mitchell Foundation's collections, accompanied by Marion Cajori's celebrated film Joan Mitchell: Portrait of an Abstract Painter, which offered an intimate and moving portrayal of the artist.

The exhibition was selected by New York based writer and curator Phillip Larratt-Smith and is presented in association with the Joan Mitchell Foundation, New York. A catalogue featuring conversations with the American Writer Paul Auster and sculptor Lynda Benglis is available, please contact the gallery for details.

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