Joan Mitchell next to Monet


The new exhibition at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in Paris juxtaposes the works of two giants of Modern and Contemporary painting: Claude Monet (1840-1926) and Joan Mitchell (1925-1992). The sixty or so works brought together by curator Suzanne Pagé (Artistic Director of the Louis Vuitton Foundation) reveal a number of remarkable visual and thematic similarities.

The Vuitton Foundation recalls the importance of Claude MONET’s work in the artistic development of American artists of the 20th century, with, for example, Monet’s Water Lilies being hugely popular there in the 1950s “where they are perceived as precursors of abstraction by the Abstract Expressionists.” It was at this time that Joan Mitchell, via Franz Kline and Willem de Kooning, emerged in the New York art scene. In 1951, she was one of the few female members of the exclusive ArtistsClub where the only other women admitted were Elaine de Kooning, Lee Krasner and Helen Frankenthaler. Her works were subsequently included in the exhibition The Ninth Street organized with the help of Leo Castelli, which substantially contributed to the triumph of the American avant-garde.

Although Joan MITCHELL is an integral part of the history of American Abstract Expressionism, her work resonates powerfully with a form of “abstract impressionism”, a term used by Elaine de Kooning to describe the works produced by Claude Monet in his later years. In 1968, Mitchell moved into a world that was very similar to Monet’s by settling in a property in Vétheuil, not far from where Monet lived from 1878 to 1881. Vétheuil was notably where she created her great polyptychs of the 1970s that captured the essence of nature and the lyricism of the landscape, highly sensitive to light and intense colors.

Giverny for Monet, Vétheuil for Mitchell… both were crucial environments in the lives and developments of the two artists’ work. For Monet, Giverny resulted in the famous Water Lilies, whereas for Mitchell Vétheuil generated iconic abstract compositions evoking emotions associated with landscapes. Composed of thirty-six works by Monet and twenty-four by Mitchell, the Monet-Mitchell exhibition has been organized in collaboration with the Musée Marmottan Monet, which has lent twenty-five Monet paintings.

Two exhibitions in one

Joan Mitchell developed one of the most remarkable œuvres of the second half of the 20th century: “abstract paintings” but which were “also landscapes”. Bearing this in mind, the Louis Vuitton Foundation has taken the opportunity to present – alongside the superb Monet-Mitchell juxtaposition – the biggest retrospective of Joan Mitchell’s work in Europe for thirty years. This retrospective has been put together in collaboration with the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) and the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA). It brings together some fifty works over 1000 m2 and offers a new version of the exhibition presented in the United States last summer (San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), then at the Baltimore Museum of Art (BAM).

Evolution of Joan Mitchell’s prices: Artprice’s analysis

Since 2018, Joan Mitchell’s estate has been represented by the powerful David Zwirner Gallery, which has contributed to the growing recognition of her life’s work. The support from such a major gallery had an immediate effect on the demand and on the prices of Mitchell’s works, and, just two weeks after its official announcement, Christie’s sold her canvas Blueberry in New York at the record price of $16.6 million, vs. a high estimate of $7 million. Although this record has not been beaten since, the revaluation of her works has continued with intensity, as shown by the resale of the diptych La Grande Vallée VII (1983) which multiplied in value 44 times between 1989 and 2020 (from $330,000 to $14.5 million).

To date, ten paintings by Mitchell have exceeded the $10 million threshold at auction, including five between 2020 and 2022. The rise in prices for her best works has therefore accelerated significantly over the past two years, which, according to Alexander Rotter, Head of Post-War and Contemporary Art at Christie’s in New York, constitutes “a market adjustment that is long overdue”.


Joan Mitchell: world ranking at auction

Claude Monet: world ranking at auction

Today Joan Mitchell ranks as the 62nd most sought-after artist in the world (by annual auction turnover) compared with 220th place in 2000. Meanwhile, Claude Monet is currently occupying the no. 1 spot in Artprice’s provisional ranking with a turnover total exceeding $388 million, an absolute annual record for Monet, and 2022 is still far from over…

Claude Monet: Annual results at auction (copyright



Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris

Exhibition until 27 February 2023