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Joan Mitchell. Sunflowers. 1990-1991. Collection of John Cheim. © Estate of Joan Mitchell

Joan Mitchell


This retrospective will explore the full arc of Joan Mitchell’s artistic practice, from her exceptional New York paintings in the early 1950s to the majestic, large-scale multi-panel works made in France later in her career. Co-organized with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the exhibition features rarely shown paintings and works on paper from public and private collections in the U.S. and Europe. The exhibition moves through focused suites of work, following Mitchell’s cyclical way of working, in which subjects and gestures appear and resurface years later. A selection of projects created with and for writers like Frank O’Hara and Jacques Dupin will underscore the role of poetry in her life and work; others signal themes including her relationships with music and the artists of the 19th century. Additionally, the exhibition will feature transitional works that unfold her process and emphasize the role of Mitchell’s exquisite small paintings, pastels, and works on paper. An accompanying catalog will provide a sweeping scholarly account of the artist’s career.

Co-curated by Katy Siegel, BMA Senior Programming Curator and Thaw Chair of Modern Art at Stony Brook University, and Sarah Roberts, SFMOMA Andrew W. Mellon Curator and Head of Painting and Sculpture

Read BMA Senior Curator Katy Siegel and SFMOMA Associate Curator Sarah Roberts in conversation as they reflect on Mitchell’s enduring appeal and their aspirations for the exhibition catalog.


Bank of America is lead sponsor of Joan Mitchell.

This exhibition is generously sponsored by The Alvin and Fanny B. Thalheimer Exhibition Endowment Fund and is made possible in part by a major grant from the Henry Luce Foundation.

Generous support has been provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art, sponsor of the international tour, and the Joan Mitchell Foundation. This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by The Stoneridge Fund of Amy and Marc Meadows, the Clair Zamoiski Segal and Thomas H. Segal Contemporary Art Endowment Fund, Ilene and Michael Salcman, Komal Shah and Gaurav Garg, Martha Macks-Kahn/Goya Contemporary, and Stephen M. Salny.