Joan Mitchell’s Abstractions Awe at SFMOMA

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Three-panel abstract oil painting in blue, green, oranges and browns.
Joan Mitchell, ‘Bracket,’ 1989; The Doris and Donald Fisher Collection at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. (© Estate of Joan Mitchell; Photo: Katherine Du Tiel)

If you’ve been yearning (like me) for color, texture and scale in your reduced, screen-filled life, this Joan Mitchell retrospective offers temporary satisfaction. Organized by both SFMOMA and the Baltimore Museum of Art, the show features a whopping 80-some works spanning the artist’s four-decade-long career. Mitchell’s athletic abstractions are by turns dense and loose, filled with gestures large and small. The show pays particular attention to the landscapes Mitchell absorbed during her time in Chicago, New York, Paris, and eventually, the French village Vétheuil where she lived and worked for her final 25 years.

Joan Mitchell’ is on view at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Sept. 4, 2021–Jan. 17, 2022.