Known as a "second generation" Abstract Expressionist, Mitchell left New York for Paris in 1959, just as this movement began to be hailed as the "new American painting." She was unapologetic in her preference for living in France, and her work reflects the French landscape tradition and the paintings of Claude Monet, in particular. In her paintings from the late 1970s through the mid 1980s, Mitchell refined her technique to overlapping, calligraphic lines, evoking images of flower-covered hills. Before, Again II is painted in intense colors, laid across the canvas in short strokes and long drips with enormous freedom and luminous effect. The artist described this work, painted during an illness, as a preoccupation with mortality, but one that reaffirms life and defeats death.
Artist Joan Mitchell, American, 1925-1992
  • Before, Again II
Date 1985
Medium oil on canvas
Dimensions Unframed: 110 × 78 3/4 inches (279.4 × 200 cm)
Framed: 111 3/8 × 79 3/8 × 2 1/4 inches (282.9 × 201.6 × 5.7 cm)
Credit Line Founders Society Purchase with funds given in memory of Henry Ford II by his sister, Josephine F. Ford
Accession Number 1988.18
Department Contemporary Art after 1950
On View Contemporary N220, Level 2 (see map)
Signed Signed, verso: J. Mitchell
Inscriptions Inscribed, titled, dated on verso: Before, Again II 1985
Xavier Fourcade Gallery, Inc. (New York, New York, USA).
1988-present, purchase by the Detroit Institute of Arts (Detroit, Michigan, USA)
Joan Mitchell: New Paintings. Exh. cat., Xavier Fourcade Gallery, Inc. New York, 1986, p. 11 (ill.).

Bulletin of the DIA 64, nos. 2/3 (1988): 15, fig. 11 (ill.).