Lawrence Fine Art

Name : Fred Mitchell
Biography :

 In 1951, just returning from a Pepsi Scholarship in Rome, Fred Mitchell (1923-2013) moved to an area near the South Street Seaport in Lower Manhattan known as Coenties Slip. Surrounding Jeanette Park, overlooking the East River and the Brooklyn Bridge, Coenties Slip was a three-block pie slice of glorious light, water views, and low rent. Mitchell was the first to discover Coenties Slip, but other artists soon followed him, including Agnes Martin, Ellsworth Kelly, Robert Indiana, Lenore Tawney, Charles Hinman and Jack Youngerman. In Ellsworth Kelly's words: "Thank you, Fred, for discovering Coenties!" The Whitney Museum mounted an exhibition entitled "Nine Artists/Coenties Slip" in 1974.

Mitchell was an integral part of the Downtown scene and a member of the Club. His work appeared in the seminal Guggenheim Museum Show "Younger American Painters" in 1954. This was the first museum exhibition on the subject of abstract art and effectively launched Mitchell's career to a higher level. It also solidified the position of New York as the leading art center in the world and helped launch a golden age of American painting. Curator James Sweeney wrote: ". . . when one compares the work of the more venturesome painters of the younger generation in this country with that of younger Europeans of a similar age, there is an immediately apparent difference. What is it? And what may be the sources of it?"
Deep into the scene, Mitchell wasn't just influenced by what was going on around him, but an influencer himself. One critic wrote: "Mitchell proceeds to advance perhaps the most important aspect of the Abstract-Expressionist esthetic for which he has always had such sympathy, and which he himself played a part in defining." (emphasis ours)
We would be remiss if we did not mention Mitchell's role as a founder of the Tanager Gallery along-side Lois Dodds, and including others such as Alex Katz, Philip Pearlstein, Tom Wesselman, Mary Abbot and others. Tanager and others likely it were formed in response to the rigid hierarchies of the "Uptown" Galleries and an attempt to show younger, more venturesome artists. Many of these artists would go on to become among greatest American artists of the past half century. Mitchell also exhibited at Tanager.
Mitchell had numerous solo and group museum and gallery shows, and his work can be found in numerous museum collections.
  Back To Artist Page