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Joan Mitchell: At the Harbor and in the Grande Vallée

Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art, New York, announces the exhibition, Joan Mitchell: At the Harbor and in the Grande Vallée to be held at the gallery from October 29 to December 18, which will juxtapose the two most important bodies of work by Joan Mitchell and feature rarely seen paintings from private collections. Focusing on works Mitchell produced at two critical junctures in her life, the show will direct a lens for the first time on the years surrounding 1957 when the young Mitchell first consolidated her formal language of abstract painting and received her first important critical successes, and 1983, a time twenty-six years later when Mitchell, now an internationally recognized artist, began her epic suite of emotionally infused paintings, La Grande Vallée.

In 1956 with one foot still firmly placed in the United States, and deeply informed by the dominant syntax of Abstract Expressionism, Mitchell produced work until 1958 that a writer once characterized as burning with “churning discord.” The blunt force and explosive dynamism of these early works, inspired equally by the landscapes of New York City and Long Island, offer a reflection of the artist’s more youthful, psychological inquiry into the nature of painting. Alternately, the works Mitchell produced from 1983-84 as part of La Grande Vallée, are confidently pastoral, and inspired by her own imagining of a secret valley in remote France. They express a hard- won serenity and confidence, and mark a surrender to the emotional, even metaphysical properties of paint that the artist, now a resident of France for over 25-years, realized only in her maturity.

By presenting two suites of paintings from these disparate periods in dialogue with one another, Joan Mitchell: At the Harbor and in the Grande Vallée will offer viewers a concise and rare opportunity to examine how one artist charted history — developmentally, artistically, and spiritually — through two seemingly oppositional, but nonetheless complementary, bodies of work. The exhibition will also reveal how the present was ineffably and necessarily informed by the past in Mitchell’s oeuvre. Several large-scale paintings by the artist will be on view, including the dramatic Harbor December, 1956, and the lush diptych La Grande Vallée XVIII (Luc), 1983-84.

Edward Tyler Nahem Fine Art has long featured the work of Mitchell in numerous exhibitions over its thirty-year history including the solo show, Joan Mitchell: Memory Abstracted, in 2002 and last year’s 20th Century Masterworks exhibition alongside works by Picasso, Lichtenstein, and others. The gallery organized key loans for the retrospective of Mitchell’s work at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, in 2002.

Joan Mitchell: At the Harbor and in the Grande Vallée is curated by Dr. Jeffrey Grove, who has organized major solo retrospective exhibitions by artists such as Isa Genzken, Jim Hodges, and Morris Louis at institutions including the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Dallas Museum of Art, and the High Museum of Art where he held senior curatorial posts. Most recently a Senior Curator at the Dallas Museum of Art, Dr. Grove is currently an independent curator located in New York and serves as Principal of The Art Advisory.