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The Paintings of Joan Mitchell Paperback – June 30, 2002

4.7 out of 5 stars 32 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This catalog accompanies the first solo exhibition of the paintings of Joan Mitchell (1926-92) in New York City in over 20 years. (The event will be at the Whitney until the end of this month and then will travel to Birmingham, AL, Forth Worth, TX, and Washington, DC.) Though considered a foremost abstract expressionist, Mitchell disliked being affiliated with the movement and especially objected to being viewed as a woman artist. Using Mitchell's journals and correspondence, Livingston (Richard Avedon, etc.) follows the evolution of Mitchell's painting and discusses her technique, which showed more concern with color than with the integrity of the medium. Taking a feminist approach, Linda Nochlin demonstrates that Mitchell's rage at being viewed as a "feminine other" was transformed into a positive energy that brought emotional intensity to her paintings. And Whitney curator Yvette Lee discusses the "Grand Vall e" series of 16 paintings (1983-84) as some of Mitchell's most luminous and lyrical. This book compares well with the first monograph on Mitchell, Judith Bernstock's Joan Mitchell, which also contains high-quality color reproductions and scholarly essays. The Bernstock book, however, focuses more on the artist's paintings in relation to the poetry that she loved. Recommended for all libraries that collect books on art.
Sandra Rothenberg, Framingham State Coll. Lib., MA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Why wasn't the work of abstract expressionist painter Joan Mitchell (1926-92) fully appreciated during her lifetime? And what goes on in her magnificently energetic and boldly chromatic compositions, works in which chaos seethes against containment, and feeling runs high? Curator and author Livingston, whose last book illuminated the work of Richard Diebenkorn, seeks answers in her vivid portrait of the artist, whom she describes as an "utterly singular, sometimes over-the-top baroque master of oil paint." She briskly chronicles Mitchell's privileged Chicago childhood, passion for literature, and rapid development as a classically trained and abstractly inclined painter. Independent, volatile, outspoken yet "strangely" inarticulate about her work, Mitchell fled New York's intrusive art world for France, where she painted with undiminished conviction in spite of traumatic losses and serious illness. Curator Yvette Y. Lee focuses on key paintings of Mitchell's, while renowned art historian Linda Nochlin offers an acute study of rage and women's paintings in general, and, in particular, Mitchell's compositions, gorgeously reproduced here in vibrant color, observing that "from their brazen refusal of harmonious resolution rises their blazing glory." Donna Seaman
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 237 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1st edition (June 30, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520235703
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520235700
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 0.7 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (32 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #325,333 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Landau on January 27, 2007
Format: Paperback
This catalog of Joan Mitchell's Whitney exhibit is one of the great bargains among all artist monographs. Superb full color, almost full page plates of a wide range of Mitchell's work over a long period of time, numerous additional photos and snapshots, an in-depth biography of the artist and contributions by multiple authors make this a "must have" text, actually more valued than my collection of numerous Robert Miller Gallery monographs on the artist accumulated over many years. Her work has exploded in popularity over the past five years with good reason and many shows will be forthcoming.

Like Ellen Landau's large-scale monograph on Jackson Pollock, you wonder why a book of this quality is available so inexpensively. Someone must have done too long a print run initially. Take advantage. When you look at the prices of the Kertess or Bernstock monographs on Joan Mitchell, you realize this is a screaming bargain, not to be missed.
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Format: Paperback
The painting of Joan Mitchell was for me a discover of an tremendous and excellent painter, almost unknow in my country Argentina. The quality of images, photographs and texts includes on this catalogue dont dissapoint me, in fact, it gave me hope in contemporary paint and help me as a painter.

I recommended this book for any person who love the beauty of color, life and paint, and for painters who want to learn what means the freedom of action and think.

Thank you and excuse my english.
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Format: Paperback
Joan Mitchell was one of the more notable painters of Abstract Expressionism in the period between 1950-1980, yet her fame has until now been largely restricted to professional circles. The collaborative effort of Jane Livingston, Linda Nochlin, Yvette Lee, Maxwell L. Anderson, Paintings Of Joan Mitchell is published to accompany a major exhibition at the Whitney Museum, and offers full-page color plates of Mitchell's paintings to accompany further insights on her craft and achievements. A vivid, highly recommended pick which stands alone from its exhibit foundations.
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Format: Paperback
I went to this amazing show at the Whitney. I stood for hours with her huge paintings. Even though a book cannot compare to the artwork in person, this book does a good job presenting Mitchell's stunning work. The only other book I have seen that might compare is Joan Mitchell by Klaus Kertess, but this book is hard to find.

I recommend buying the Whitney Museum book. It is inexpensive and is comprehensive.
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This week we mark the anniversary of Joan Mitchell's death to oropharyngeal/pulmonary cancer (10/30/1992). We turn to a splendid book put together & written by three impressive ladies.
Joan Mitchell, not often found in general art books, none-the-less imposes a powerful presence in the tapestry of american art. Overshadowed by masculine icons the likes of Pollack, de Kooning, Kline. Mitchell brought a strong feminine bravura to the abstract expressionist genre.
This lovely book celebrates the Whitney museum's 2002 - 2004 exhibtion. The paintings presented here sweep through the decades from her establishing herself during the 1950's - 60's through her mature visual paraphrasing of the 80's.
Delicate energetic masterpieces are beautifully brought forth in 88 full page color plates. An embodying text follows her life from marginalized artist to a forefront figure strong in both expression and lifestyle.
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The survey is quite well done. The plates and narrative are both outstanding, providing a nice overview of the artist and her work. Included in the plates were close-up shots which were particularly helpful in translating the substance of the work and the technique that the artist used to achieve her unique style. My knowledge of Joan Mitchell prior to ordering this book was quite limited. I feel that this book successfully filled a sorely missing gap in my art world.
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To my eternal shame, Joan Mitchell was only vaguely known to me, until I recently saw one of her paintings at a friends house - I was absolutely fascinated. I wanted to learn more about this wonderful artist, and chose "The paintings of Joan Mitchell" from the various books Amazon had on offer, as well as the documentary by Marion Cajori, "joan Mitchell, portrait of an abstract painter" .Both proved to be excellent choices.

The book is not just a beautifully executed catalogue of a major exhibition in 2003/2004 of Mitchell's work ( with excellent reproductions!) but the extensive well-written and scholarly essay by Jane Livingston provides a wonderful introduction to Mitchell as a artist and a person. Cajori's documentary was made shortly before Mitchell's death, and provides extra depth and color to the book.
I was especially touched by Mitchell's repeated refusal to "explain" her works; as an abstract painter, she prefers to let her glorious colorful paintings speak for themselves, and to leave it to the individual viewers to decide what her art means to them
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This book, The Paintings Of Joan Mitchell, from a Whitney retrospective exhibition in 2002, has a beautiful representation of Mitchell's work, and gives a good sense of what a marvelous painter she was, with various plates of full paintings done throughout her life, and full size details of her vibrant brush strokes of many.

The book is fleshed out with three essays by three different authors. Jane Livingstone's gives a fairly good sense of Joan's life from growing up in Chicago, to time in New York, to time in France to the relationships of importance and influence. All three essays, between the lines, give a good sense of the uneasy relationship between an artist and `the art world,' often a love-hate relationship between the world of creativity, and the world of public acclaim, acquisition, money, survival. (For direct discussion of how pernicious art acquisition and money have become on art itself, especially from the time of this book publication, read some Jed Perl).

Yvette Lee's essay on Joan's late life series La Grande Vallee is informative and interesting and mercifully minimizes exploring the critic-historian's comparative analyses, while giving you enough insight to do that on your own.

In Linda Nochlin's essay, A Rage To Paint, you know you are in trouble when the word "heuristic" shows up in the very first sentence. You'd think a writer, and editors, would know better. Yet, I suppose the Whitney people felt they needed some filler that directly addressed a feminist perspective, just because, but what a dry, tendentious, academic, and ultimately ironic essay. There is enough information in even this essay, as well as other work, to know that Joan would have rolled her eyes at such an approach to her work.
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