Joan Mitchell, Noel, 1961-1962.

Phillips auction house will offer Joan Mitchell’s Noël in their 20th Century & Contemporary Art Evening Sale in New York on July 2nd. Painted in the early 1960s, a period of high critical acclaim for Mitchell, Noël is an explosive, large scale painting, featuring expressive brushstrokes and drips of paint across the canvas. The work shows off some of Mitchell’s artistic influences, from her peers Willem de Kooning, Kline and Jackson Pollock, as well as some of the French greats like Monet and Cezanne she was surrounded by at the time. Noël was painted in Mitchell’s Parisian studio on rue Frémicourt, where during the short period between 1960 and 1962, she would paint a remarkable body of work. Mitchell’s mother was diagnosed with cancer in 1960 and her relationship with Jean-Paul Riopelle was on the rocks. The emotional turmoil Mitchell was working through can easily be seen and felt in her art during this time.

Joan Mitchell photographed in her studio.

“Joan Mitchell’s large scale paintings from this period are rarely seen on the auction market, and it is an honor to present Noël as a leading highlight of our July Evening Sale,” said Robert Manley, Deputy Chairman and Worldwide Co-Head of 20th Century & Contemporary Art. Mitchell’s work has become much more appreciated in recent years, and has reached record high prices at auction. According to Manley, the SFMoMA and the Baltimore Museum of Art have been working on co-organizing a major retrospective of her life’s work, making this auction a timely and exciting event, shining light on an incredible work from one of the 20th century’s most impressive artists.