Co-organized by the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Joan Mitchell follows the career of the internationally renowned artist who attained critical acclaim and success in the male-dominated art circles of 1950s New York. She then spent nearly four decades in France creating breathtaking abstract paintings that evoke landscapes, memories, poetry, and music.

On view through August 14, the comprehensive exhibition features works from rarely seen early paintings and drawings to multi-panel masterpieces that immerse viewers with their symphonic color. Highlights such as “To the Harbormaster” (1956) and “South” (1989) evoke urban environments and the lush French countryside, while “No Rain” (1976) and “Sunflowers” (1990–91) engage with the legacy of Vincent Van Gogh. Two enormous multi-panel paintings, “Ode to Joy (A Poem by Frank O’Hara)” (1970–71) and “La Vie en Rose” (1979), demonstrate Mitchell’s passion for poetry and music.

The exhibition reiterates these artistic connections with an immersive soundscape that includes quotes taken from Mitchell’s writing and interviews, as well as literature and music significant to her. The experience is optimized for headphones in the gallery and accessible to visitors through an app on their mobile device or a player borrowed from the museum.

Joan Mitchell is an extraordinary opportunity to see the work of one of the most significant artists of the post-war era, as numerous loans from public and private collections in the US and Europe include works that have not been shown publicly in decades and never in a single exhibition. Photographs of views and other paintings that inspired Mitchell will be shown alongside her paintings, capturing the way she connected to the natural world and to everyday life. The BMA’s presentation also includes many archival photographs, letters, poems, and other materials from the Joan Mitchell Foundation, providing additional context about the development of the artist’s work and influences.

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