A 1991 painting from the show called “Joan Mitchell: The Last Paintings,” at Hauser & Wirth gallery in London. (Click on the image to enlarge it.) I totally reject the vaporous cliche of the “great painter” who has a preternatural grasp of the canvas and how to lay color down on it. I especially reject the idea that such a cliche might have much to do with art. And yet, confronted with these late paintings by Mitchell, I found myself thinking of her as a great painter with a preternatural grasp of the canvas and how to lay color down on it, and as making good art in the process. (This picture was made the year before Mitchell’s death, when she was battling cancer.)
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