The Big Valley XVII, Carl

Joan Mitchell

Chicago, 1925 – Vétheuil, 1992

1984
Oil on canvas (diptych)
280 x 260 cm
84.082
On indefinite loan from FRAC Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, 2013
© Estate of Joan Mitchell, photo Gérard Bonnet

Joan Mitchell - La Grande © Estate of Joan Mitchell, photo Gérard Bonnet

Information

Trained at the Art Institute de Chicago, Joan Mitchell returned to New York in 1948 and met the main protagonists of abstract expressionism: Willem De Kooning (1904-1997), Franz Kline (1910-1962), Jackson Pollock (1912-1956)… She moved to France in 1959 and later bought a studio in Vétheuil, in Île-de-France, already the holiday home of Claude Monet.  This direct rapport with nature, as well as its Impressionist heritage, combined with the strong expressiveness of American painting, undeniably inspired the artist’s work to move away from the artistic movements and currents of the era.  In 1983 her series of paintings La Grande Vallée, to which this canvas belongs, was painted in memory of a sanctuary Joan Mitchell had never seen but which had been described to her by a friend.  Here, the paintbrush’s traces give movement to the canvas while allowing flickering glimpses of yellow, orange, and pink. 

Joan Mitchell - La Grande © Estate of Joan Mitchell, photo Gérard Bonnet