By all accounts, Joan Mitchell was as tough as they come. Aggressive. Defiant. Unapologetic. Contemporaries remember her voice as being like a worn cello. Her vocabulary rivaled a sailor’s. She was unique company. She brooked no opposition. She also was a great artist.
Born in Chicago in 1925 and educated at Smith College and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Mitchell moved to New York in 1949 and became a central figure in the emerging Abstract Expressionist movement, exhibiting with Jackson Pollock and Willem de Kooning in the now famous Ninth Street Show in 1951.