Oral history interview with Joan Mitchell, 1986 April 16
In this interview, conducted at her St. Mark's Place studio in New York, Mitchell discusses her Chicago childhood, her early travels to Mexico and France, her experience in the New York art world of the 1950s, and the trajectory of her work to the present moment.
Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution
I was feeling very, sort of, down about painting for some reason, and without a feeling of a landscape as I talked about before. I was in the south of France and I saw this cypress tree against an ochre wall—and actually it was a chapel wall and way in the distance were the mountains and so on and so forth—and the cypress tree was so black and the ochre wall was a pale, pale ochre and it moved me, so whatever that means. And I started off and that lasted me for a long, long time on, this Cypress series... That's an example of sort of how I work, although it gets translated into something else.”