"While Mitchell’s mother encouraged her daughter’s early interest in language and poetry, her father, an amateur painter, was incredibly demanding and rigid, forcing Mitchell to choose between poetry and painting...But Mitchell retained a passion for poetry and language throughout her life—indeed, her relationships with poets like Frank O’Hara and John Ashbery informed the lyricism of her work. In a 1986 interview with Yves Michaud, Mitchell said, 'My painting is not an allegory or a story. It is more like a poem.' It’s no surprise then that she was also a prolific and sophisticated writer of letters, which give insight into the richness and complexity of her life, in all its shades, beyond the myth. The bulk of her correspondence is on file at the Joan Mitchell Foundation, which has provided five samples, written between 1947 and 1983, showing how she chronicled everything—from her struggles with painting to disastrous dinner parties—with humor and bold vulnerability."
Read the full profile in The Wall Street Journal
Image: Installation view, Joan Mitchell: I carry my landscapes around with me, David Zwirner, New York, 2019