Diabolo (neige et fleurs); Diabolo (Snow and Flowers)

 
Artist
Creation date
Materials
oil on canvas
Mark Descriptions
signed in pencil L.L.: Joan Mitchell
Dimensions
102-3/8 x 70-3/4 in
Credit line
Gift of Ann M. and Chris Stack In honor of Holly Day, former Senior Curator of Contemporary Art
Accession number
1998.184
Collection
Currently On View In
Nicholas H. & Margurite L. Noyes Gallery - K405

The title of this painting refers to snow and flowers, an unlikely natural landscape that is conjured by the colors and textures of this work: broad circular areas of yellow, blue, red, and green paint in the upper and middle portions of the canvas suggest bright flowers popping up through a thick blanket of snow. Joan Mitchell's dynamic brushstrokes and the vertical patterns of dripping paint reveal the presence of the artist by alerting the viewer to the physical act of painting.

Ann M. and Chris Stack, Indianapolis, Indiana; given to the Indianapolis Museum of Art in 1998.
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Indianapolis Museum of Art: Highlights of the Collection (2005)

This abstract painting, which belongs to Joan Mitchell's Sans Neige (Without snow) series, displays Mitchell's desire to interpret landscape in terms of brilliant colors and energetic, thickly layered gestural brushwork. Broad circular areas of yellow, blue, red, and green paint in the upper and middle portions of the canvas suggest bright flowers popping up through a thick blanket of white snow. Painting the canvas in an upright position, Mitchell allowed the wet paint to drip toward the floor, creating long vertical streaks throughout the composition. Both the dynamic brushstrokes and the vertical patterns of dripping paint reveal the presence of the artist by alerting the viewer to the physical act of painting.

During the 1950s, Mitchell, a second-generation Abstract Expressionist, participated actively in the New York art world, showing her work in important exhibitions at the Stable Gallery. She frequented the Cedar Bar, a famous meeting place for artists and writers, where she befriended Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline, who, along with the early modernists Paul Cézanne and Vincent van Gogh, became crucial influences on her work. In 1959, after living between New York and France for several years, Mitchell moved permanently to the French village of Vétheuil. Her extensive gardens there provided endless inspiration for her paintings.

I do not want to improve [Nature]. . . . I could certainly never mirror it. I would like more to paint what it leaves me with.
-Joan Mitchell