Joan Mitchell, 66, a prize-winning abstract painter whose large canvases combined the raw verve of expressionism with sensuous forms and colors, died of lung cancer Oct. 30 at a hospital in Paris.
The American artist drew inspiration from the French impressionists and particularly from the impressionist master Claude Monet. She started out painting landscapes and later turned to abstracts, where her works were marked by swirling geometric forms.
Miss Mitchell's works such as "The Country" and "The Big Valley" exploited landscapes. She also produced more works, such as "My Sister's House" and "Life in Rose."
Some critics thought she reinvented impressionism, adding a touch of American expressionism. Others called her an important figure in the second generation of American abstract expressionists. Her works were displayed regularly in Paris and New York and also had appeared in traveling shows at the Corcoran Gallery in Washington.
In 1989, she received France's prestigious National Grand Prize for Painting. Her works had been purchased recently by such institutions as the Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museum.
"With Joan Mitchell, we lose one of the great woman artists of our era," said Jack Lang, the French education and culture minister.
"Throughout her life she waged a combat to reconcile her passion for colors and the sensation of nature, violence and feelings, America and France, the woman and the painter," he said.
Miss Mitchell, who was born in Chicago, settled in France in the 1950s. She had lived in Paris and the town of Vetheuil, one of the areas frequented by Monet.
A graduate of Smith College, she studied at the Chicago Art Institute from 1944 to 1947. After continuing her studies in Europe, she settled in New York and was influenced by expressionism and action painting.
She developed a taste for large canvases, oils and violent strokes. After moving to France, she settled in a cliff-top house overlooking the Vetheuil countryside, on the Seine river west of Paris.
Her marriage to Barney Rosset, founder of Grove Press publishing, ended in divorce. She was a one-time companion of Canadian painter Jean-Paul Riopelle.
She leaves no immediate survivors.