top of page
MONET MITCHELL louis Vuitton1163 .jpg


 Louis Vuitton Foundation


It is the sober title of the exhibition that the

Louis Vuitton Foundation. Until February 27, 2023

Face to face mirror of the work of these two great artists as well as a retrospective of Joan Mitchell.

All masterfully orchestrated by Suzanne Pagé, at the helm of the general curatorship of the exhibition and a fan from the start (first retrospective in France of Joan Mitchell at the Museum of Modern Art in Paris in 1982).


But what do the old bearded gentleman who died in 1926 and the American Mitchell born in 1925 have to do together?

MONET 1204.jpg
MITCHELL 1145.jpg

Many, but not all...


Monet, like Mitchell, smoked heavily and had a difficult character. Claude Monet had a reputation as an angry and savage man. Didn't his friend Georges Clémenceau call him "the old hedgehog sinister”?

Many are the testimonies on the "abrupt" character of Mitchell. (read on this subject the edifying, hilarious and moving paper by Philippe Dagen for Le Monde dating from 1992*). In a video of the exhibition, she too complains of being called “savage” in France. Coincidence?

It is common knowledge, as Guy Bloch-Champfort*, friend of Joan Mitchell, coordinator of her estate, great art lover and author of a remarkable book of collections and interviews* points out, that she was more willing to accept a affiliation with Van Gogh, Cézanne and Matisse, than with Claude Monet.

Mitchell 2 sunflowers 1137.jpg
Mitchell Two Sunflowers, 1979
Mitchell Tree_1122.jpg
Mitchell, Redtree, 1976
Mitchell, Little trip, and sketchbooks 
MITCHELL flowers1130.jpg
Header 5
Sunflowers, 1990-91

If these two artists have in common extraordinary formats and a talent for colouring, neither of them claimed to belong to a school of painting. The attribution of Monet to the Impressionist movement comes from an article originally intended to ridicule him. And Joan Mitchell will always defend herself from belonging to a movement or a school. Certainly not Impressionism, any more than Abstract Expressionism, which she would furiously deny. A group ? Yes, or rather a network of friends with whom she drank shots at the Cedar Bar in New York in the 1950s. The “Action Painters” band, Jackson Pollock, William de Kooning, Franz Kline and others. Probably more her thing.

Claude Monet and Georges Clemenceau 
Joan Mitchell and Jean-Paul Riopelle, Venice 1962

Guy-Bloch-Champfort remembers a confidence from his friend, she was already complaining about the parallel and regretting "the lack of light" in Monet's canvases.

Monet, Water Lilies, 1914-1916
Monet reflets de saule 1214.jpg
Monet, Water Lilies, 1914-1916

And yet, in view of this exhibition, it is obvious that they had in common the love of nature, of the landscape, as a constantly renewed source of inspiration and chance (or not) led Joan Mitchell close to from Claude Monet. Thus she contemplated the same landscapes "with the early purple mornings" that had inspired the old man. Thus was she inconsolable for the lost friends like himself of her dear Camille...

Joan Mitchell - A Garden for Audrey, 1975
Claude Monet, The House, View from the Rose Garden 1922-24
Joan mitchell, Vétheuil 1991 ©Christopher Campbell
Claude Monet at the age of 25  1865 ©Etienne Carjat 

Guy Bloch-Champfort “Joan Mitchell – Testimonies and secrets” published by Les Presses du Réel 

Over the testimonies of twenty-four personalities from the art world; artists, art historians, gallery owners and close friends of the artist, Guy Bloch-Chamfort paints an intimate portrait of one of the greatest American painters of the 20th century

  • Interviews with Paul Auster, Claude Bauret-Allard, Carole Benzaken, Frank Bordas, Velma Bury, Henri-Claude Cousseau, Philipe Dagen, Monique Frydman, Alan Glass, Elga Heinzen, Jacqueline Hyde, Betsy Jolas, Klaus Kertess,_cc781905-5cde-3194 -bb3b-136bad5cf58d_Serge Lemoine, Adrien Maeght, Brice Marden, Dominique Marquet, Joyce Pensato, Philippe Piguet, Marcelin Pleynet, Philippe Richard, Michaële Andréa Schatt, Mâkhi Xenakis, Zuka.

_Guy Bloch Champfort.JPG
Author Guy Bloch-Champfort at the Louis Vuitton Foundation and in his library

The Fury of Joan Mitchell

From Chicago to the banks of the Seine, the search for absolute independence.

By Philippe Dagen

Published on August 02, 1992 the-search-for-absolute-independence_3894318_1819218.html

bottom of page