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La Chatière

circa 1961

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La Chatière


Oil on canvas


76 7/8 x 58 inches (195.263 x 147.32 cm)


Joan Mitchell Foundation

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© Estate of Joan Mitchell.
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About This Work

Joan Mitchell’s artworks distill and express her feelings and memories of people, places, and things that were important to her. Mitchell lived in France when she painted La Chatière, titled after the French word for a cat door. Although her pets at that time were dogs, she had owned cats in the past
 and clearly had powerful memories of them. Mitchell loved animals and closely observed their nature, the way they moved, and the feeling of being in their presence.

The paint in La Chatière suggests movement and energy, and it also contains a sense of aggression, perhaps even violence. Yet in spite of all the energy and motion, if you look at it long enough the painting also communicates a sense of stillness, of a moment frozen in time. As Mitchell once said, a painting that works is “motion made still, like a fish trapped in ice.”

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