Please note that the dimensions for this work are listed correctly in the catalogue and are 38 1/8 x 28¾ in. (91.4 x 73 cm.).
Property from a Distinguished Private Collection, California
Mitchell's emotionally charged paintings mirror the artist's tribulations and victories in different phases of her life. These two exquisite paintings from a Distinguished West Coast Collection, California, Merrily, from 1982 and, Between, from 1985 brilliantly articulate Mitchell's intensely expressive style and ability to capture emotion in the abstract. Viewed as a pair, they offer a glimpse into the artist's range and talent in the pivotal period of her late career in the1980s.
1982 was a momentous year for Mitchell. She has her first major European museum solo exhibtion at ARC, Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris titled, Joan Mitchell: Choix de Paintures, 1970-1982. This was a tremendous milestone in her career and particularly noteworthy among her peers as she was the first female American artist to have an exhibition at the Museum. The show included forty-two paintings in a survey of Mitchell's work over a period of thirteen years and brought her acclaim internationally. The vivacious, full brushstrokes of rosy pink and vivid orange hues of Merrily comes to the forefront, masking the cooler tones of blue and teal in the backdrop. In Merrily she poetically captures the emotional satisfaction of this time in her life in a dance of blush colors. Both lyrical in rhythm and perfectly balanced in composition, Merrily reveals Mitchell's assertive and confident brushstrokes carefully placed on the canvas.
Mitchell's merriment, however, was short lived as just two years later in 1984 she begins to suffer from medical hardships. In her time between hospital visits, Mitchell poignantly explores a palette of more somber, cooler green and blue tones as we see in Between from 1985. Rife with emotion and rich in water-like colors, Between represents a chapter of Mitchell's life where she is out of control of her body, but still manages to skillfully convey her feelings on the canvas.
In both paintings, Mitchell's deep engagement with the canvas dictates a lyrical balance of gesture and color. We see how she pushes her brushstrokes to the edges, following each movement, creating balance and harmony on the surface as she is faced with heightened emotions in life. Merrily and Between, are stylistically attuned with the rich, surfaces full of impasto Mitchell is celebrated, and provide elegant examples of her distinguished body of work from the 1980s.