Joan Mitchell (1926-1992) was one of the major artists of the Abstract Expressionist movement. She won a place for herself in the New York art world of the 1950s and achieved recognition for her grand yet personal style of painting. That she is not more widely appreciated in the United States is partly because she lived in France during the later decades of her life. In her will, Mitchell directed that the critic and curator, Klaus Kertess, write the text for this study of her life and work. The book traces her evolution from her earliest efforts as a young artist in Chicago and her arrival in New York in the 1940s. It gives special attention to the array of gifted painters and poets in the New York art scene of the 1950s, when Mitchell first made her mark, and discusses at length her friendships with artists such as Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline, and writers such as Frank O'Hara.