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Joan Mitchell: Sunflowers Potentially Set to Break Auction Records

joan mitchell Sunflowers

Discover the profound journey of expressionist artist Joan Mitchell, whose artistic pieces are gaining immense recognition, with her ‘Sunflowers’ poised to shatter previous auction records this November at Sotheby’s in New York.


Artist’s Early Journey

Joan Mitchell, born in Chicago in 1926, embarked on her journey in the arts from the tender age of ten, showcasing not only her painting skills but also her prowess in poetry and ice-skating. By 1950, she had earned a master’s degree from the Art Institute of Chicago and moved to New York on a scholarship to expand her artistic horizon, soon holding various exhibits.

Balancing Between Worlds

Mitchell, by 1955, began dividing her life between New York and Paris, eventually settling near Paris in Vétheuil in 1968 where she continued to live and create until her demise.

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Historical Auction Performances

Mitchell’s artwork enjoyed substantial demand during her lifetime, with pieces sold between 1960 and 1962 reportedly exceeding $30,000 in value. Following her passing, her works experienced a surge in popularity, achieving a cumulative sales value of approximately $435.2 million by August 2018. Her ‘Sunflowers’ are set to potentially surpass existing auction records, with anticipation reaching a crescendo for the forthcoming auction.

A Collector’s Haven

Art collector John Cheim, co-founder of Cheim & Read, renowned for emphasizing female artists, possesses significant collections from various contemporaries including Mitchell, and has decided to auction a part of his collection through Sotheby’s. The auction will feature, among other remarkable pieces, Mitchell’s 1990-91 diptych ‘Sunflowers’ which is expected to fetch upwards of $20 million.

Joan Mitchell (1925 – 1992) in her studio, Paris, France, September 1956. Photo: Loomis Dean

Comparable Greats

Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’ had previously set the world record for the most expensive painting sold, emphasizing the importance and value of similar pieces in the art world. Mitchell’s Sunflowers thus bear an added allure for collectors, embodying both historical significance and artistic brilliance.

Joan Mitchell’s innovative expressionism and vivid ‘Sunflowers’ reflect the evolving dynamics of art auctions, where significant pieces are receiving unparalleled recognition and value. The upcoming auction could mark a historic moment, further elevating Mitchell’s status in the art world and reinforcing the value of exceptional artwork.


Learn more about Mitchell’s work at joanmitchellfoundation.org

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