oil on canvas
36 x 38 inches
Provenance: Private collection, NJDKnown as a gifted Abstract Expressionist painter since 1951, Fred Mitchell was a draftsman and painter from an early age. Mitchell often painted and drew his local environment around Meridian, Mississippi where he grew up. His interest lay in modern art and he was well informed of the latest art trends.
In 1942 Mitchell attended the Carnegie Institute in Pittsburgh on a Scholastic Magazine Art Scholarship. There he met and became friends with painter Philip Pearlstein. In 1951 Mitchell moved to New York City and became one of the first painters to open a painting studio in downtown Manhattan in the seaport area along the East River known as Coenties Slip. During the ensuing years other artists moved into Coenties Slip lofts including Ellsworth Kelly (introduced to the area by Mitchell in 1951) Robert Indiana, Agnes Martin, Jack Youngerman, and James Rosenquist. In 1952, Fred Mitchell along with Angelo Ippolito and fellow artists Lois Dodd, Charles Cajori and William King organized Tanager Gallery on East 9th Street as an artists’ cooperative gallery with a loan from painter Pearl Fine. Tanager Gallery quickly became known as the most influential and respected co-op gallery in New York just as the Abstract Expressionist movement swept the art world.
Mitchell’s first New York solo show was at Tanager Gallery in 1952 with solo exhibitions also in 1954 and 1960. Philip Guston introduced Mitchell to other artists at the Cedar Tavern, and Philip Pavia brought him to ‘The Club’ in New York. The world of talented painters and sculptors in New York City was small and Mitchell became friends with many of them during this period including Franz Kline, Jasper Johns, and Robert Rauschenberg who both lived above Mitchell loft on Front Street in New York.
In 1954 Mitchell’s work was included in the landmark Guggenheim Museum show ‘Younger American Painters’. The exhibition traveled to The Dallas MoA, and The Detroit Museum. In 1953 and 1954 Mitchell was included in the prestigious ‘Stable Gallery Annual Exhibition’. In 1955 Mitchell returned to Cranbrook Academy to teach for several years while also exhibiting in New York and Cleveland as well as traveling back to Positano Italy. Throughout the 1960’s to the 1990’s, Fred Mitchell exhibited in numerous museums and galleries including: The Walker Arts Center, Minneapolis MN, ‘Vanguard ‘55’; Roko Gallery, NYC; Landmark Gallery, NYC; The Whitney Museum of American Art, NYC; Museum of Modern Art, New York; SuNY Binghamton, NY; Munson Williams Proctor Institute; The South Street Seaport, NYC; U. of Oregon Art Museum; Jackson MS Memorial Art Museum; The Bronx MoA; The Wooster Art Center, Danbury,CT; Katharina Rich Perlow Gallery,NYC; Tabakman Gallery, NYC; Susan Teller Gallery, NYC; Pace Gallery,NYC; and ULAE Workshop Gallery, NYC, among others.