Timeline 1950

  1. 1950

    Mitchell in 1950, with her work from the late 1940s.

    After a brief stay at the Chelsea Hotel, Mitchell and Rosset rent a small house on Eleventh Street between Bleecker Street and Seventh Avenue in Greenwich Village.

    Mitchell receives a Master of Fine Arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

    Summer. While Rosset is still out of town, in Mexico City, Mitchell moves their living quarters to a duplex apartment on Ninth Street, where she will use the living room as her studio.

    Mitchell becomes actively involved in the downtown avant-garde art scene, and establishes friendships and engages in aesthetic debates with the group of artists who congregate at the Cedar Tavern on University Place. She also attends Wednesday-evening round table and Friday-evening panel discussions at the Artists’ Club (also known as the Eighth Street Club, and simply as “the Club”), which was founded by Conrad Marca-Relli, Willem de Kooning, and Franz Kline, among others.

    October–November. Mitchell has her first solo exhibition, at the Saint Paul Gallery and School of Art, Saint Paul, Minnesota, where she shows thirteen paintings made in Le Lavandou and New York.

    Mitchell visits Kline in his studio on Ninth Street. She also seeks out de Kooning at his Fourth Street studio after seeing his painting in the Whitney Annual held at the old Studio School on Eighth Street.

  2. 1951

    Poster for the 1951 exhibition "The Ninth Street Show."

    Mitchell becomes one of the few female members of the Eighth Street Club, along with peers Alfred Leslie, Grace Hartigan, and Michael Goldberg.

    In the spring, she separates from Rosset and moves to a studio building on Tenth Street where Philip Guston, Miriam Schapiro and Paul Brach also live.

    Mitchell helps to establish the publishing house of Grove Press with Rosset.

    May–June. Mitchell participates in “The Ninth Street Show,” an invitational exhibition of works by sixty-one artists held in a vacated storefront at 60 East Ninth Street, organized by the charter members of the Club with the assistance of Leo Castelli.

  3. 1952

    Mitchell with her dog Georges du Soleil.

    January–February. Mitchell has her first solo exhibition in New York at the New Gallery; she shows sixteen paintings.

    The marriage to Rosset ends in divorce, but the two remain close friends until Mitchell’s death. Rosset brings her a poodle from Paris as a gift; she calls the poodle Georges du Soleil, the first of a succession of dogs whose names appear in titles of works and, on occasion, provide the inspiration for some of her paintings.

    Mitchell moves to a studio in the East Village at 60 St. Mark’s Place. She will continue to lease this apartment through the 1970s. Mitchell meets the poet Frank O’Hara, whose work will become an important inspiration for her as their friendship develops. Her painting To The Harbormaster (1957) is named after his poem of that title. She becomes closely associated during this time with those in O’Hara’s circle, including Hal Fondren, John Ashbery, and Joseph LeSueur.

  4. 1953

    Stable Gallery, New York.

    ln January, Eleanor Ward opens the Stable Gallery in New York with “The Second Annual Exhibition of Painting and Sculpture,” which includes Mitchell. The show is described as the successor to “The Ninth Street Show” by Clement Greenberg in introductory notes published on the announcement poster. Mitchell will continue to show work in the artists’ cooperative group exhibitions held annually at the Stable Gallery through 1957.

    April. Has her first solo exhibition at the Stable Gallery; she will remain affiliated with the gallery through 1966, having solo exhibitions there in 1955, 1957, 1958, 1961, and 1965.

    Summer. She rents Rose Cottage, with Paul Brach and Miriam Schapiro, at Three Mile Harbor in East Hampton, Long Island, where she paints outdoors and becomes involved in the summer art community.

  5. 1955

    Mitchell with Jean-Paul Riopelle at their home/studio on Rue Frémicourt, Paris, photo by Heidi Meister.

    Summer. Travels to Paris after being advised by Edrita Fried, her psychoanalyst since 1947, not to spend another summer in East Hampton. She frequents the Montparnasse bar scene with the other American expatriate artists Shirley Jaffe, Sam Francis, Norman Bluhm, Kimber Smith, and Saul Steinberg.  It is Jaffe who introduces her to Jean-Paul Riopelle, a Montreal-born painter prominent in the Parisian abstract painting movement, with whom Mitchell will maintain a complicated relationship for nearly twenty-five years.

    Mitchell will divide her time between New York, where she paints on St. Mark’s Place, and Paris, where she works in studios on rue Jacob, rue Daguerre, and rue Decrès through 1959.

    October–December. Mitchell shows paintings in “Vanguard 1955,” an important group exhibition of new talent at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. She also exhibits for the first time in the Pittsburgh International at the Carnegie Institute and in the “Annual Exhibition of Contemporary American Painting” at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

  6. 1956

    "Hemlock", 1956. Whitney Museum of American Art.

    Completes Hemlock, which derives its title from a line in the poem “Domination of Black” by Wallace Stevens; it is the first of several paintings that refer to poetry, which continues to play a vital role in her work, particularly in the 1970s.

    October 1956–June 1957. Is included in “Recent American Watercolorists,” a traveling exhibition circulated at museums throughout France, organized by Dorothy Miller with the assistance of Frank O’Hara for the International Council of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.

  7. 1957

    "Mitchell Paints a Picture" article by Irving Sandler in Art News, 1957.

    March–April. Mitchell exhibits Color in Space (1956) and Hudson River Dayline (1956) in the important group show “Artists of the New York School: Second Generation” at the Jewish Museum, New York. Helen Frankenthaler, Jane Freilicher, Michael Goldberg, Grace Hartigan, and Alfred Leslie are among the other artists of her age group who are labeled as “second generation” Abstract Expressionist painters.

    October. “Mitchell Paints a Picture” by Irving Sandler, the first major article to focus solely on her, is published in Art News.

  8. 1958

    "City Landscape", 1955. Art Institute of Chicago.

    In March, The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, purchases Hemlock (1956).

    May–June. City Landscape (1954–55) is included in the “18th Annual Society for Contemporary American Art Exhibition” at the Art Institute of Chicago, and is selected for purchase for the permanent collection.

  9. 1959

    Mitchell at Tiber Press, New York, photo by Walt Silver.

    Mitchell completes her first series of published prints, a small group of color silkscreens handpainted in oil, with Floriano Vecchi, the owner of Tiber Press, New York.

    Summer. She rents a studio at 10 rue Frémicourt, in the fifteenth arrondissement of Paris, where she lives with Riopelle. Although she continues to visit and show in New York regularly, from this time forward she paints only in France.

    The Evergreen Gallery Book, School of New York: Some Younger Artists, including a major essay written by Irving Sandler on her work, is published by Grove Press, New York.