In 1968, the American abstract expressionist artist Joan Mitchell, moved from Paris to Normandy where she settled. In that new studio, she started to work on a new body of works inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s sunflowers, a theme she will explore until the end of her career.
As for Van Gogh, the series was created in the context of a move from Paris to the French countryside and with a sense of promise.
In this Post dated on the day of the anniversary of Van Gogh death, Mitchell shares a detail of Sunflowers. Her comment is based on her quotes « Sunflowers are something I feel very intensely. They look so wonderful when young and they are so very moving when they are dying. I don’t like fields of sunflowers. I like them alone or, of course, painted by Van Gogh.” and “It's a yellow painting. There's hope.”
Her partner, the artist Jean Paul Riopelle, refers to that move and the mood of renewal.
Her friend Williem de Kooning declared “What fascinates me about Van Gogh is that his sun dries up everything. Maybe he was melodramatic but my point really is...if you are a painter you have to face that self-consciousness“. Her life long friend Grace Hartigan also likes the post.
Sources: Van Gogh letters
Joan Mitchell foundation, Cheim & Read Gallery
Ninth Street Women, Mary Gabriel, 2018
Joan's sunflowers, 2023
Acrylic on canvas, 30"x 24" (76 x 67 cm)