When she establishes her studio permanently in Paris, her style changes. The lines of bright pure colors that made her practice compared with Pollock's are relegated to the edges of the image while the center becomes a violent bubbling.
The early 1960s is a difficult time for this hypersensitive artist who knows that her parents are seriously ill. Her explosions of colors are however not the result of a simple rage. The canvas is carefully prepared by a drawing defining the outlines that will guide her rapid movements, alternately centripetal and centrifugal.
The achievement of her art at that time is the expression of a location. With its cool colors, Atlantic Side, 222 x 220 cm painted in 1960-1961, is typical of these abstract landscapes that anticipate the paintings by de Kooning at Long Island. It was sold for $ 6.9M including premium by Sotheby's on November 13, 2013.
On September 30 in Hong Kong, Sotheby's sells Syrtis, oil on canvas 130 x 162 cm painted in 1961, lot 1080 estimated HK $ 50M.
In that year Joan spent the summer in Cap d'Antibes. Faced with the splendid colors of the French Riviera, she imagines the Mediterranean sea in the supreme expression of its hottest point, the Gulf of Sirte on the Libyan coast. Sirte has been an attractive place since antiquity with its abundant fish for which boats take the risk of running aground on the sandbanks.
By its title and exuberance, Syrtis reflects the anxieties of Joan Mitchell. Adding the reference to the distant past, this work joins the fantasies of another American who chose Europe, Cy Twombly, probably without consultation between the two artists.
SOLD for HK$ 56M including premium