I want to die painting – (among myriad triumphs of blueness)

In her book; Joan Mitchell: Lady Painter, Patricia Albers tells us:

Rilke looked to painting, especially Cézanne’s, as a model for poetry. In late 1907, the writer visited the Paris Salon d’Automne nearly every day, seeking to memorize the work of the Post-Impressionist, whose discipline, nuance, precision, and chromatic emotion he emulated. Having visually devoured the blues that dominate Cézanne’s late work, Rilke wrote, in Letters on Cézanne (another Joan favorite), of “an ancient Egyptian shadow blue” seen while crossing the Place de la Concorde, of the “wet dark blue” in a certain van Gogh, of the “hermetic blue” of a Rodin watercolor, of “the dense waxy blue of the Pompeiian wall paintings,” and of “a kind of thunderstorm blue” in a work by the Master of Aix– fabulous stuff for the future painter of Hudson River Day Line, Blue Territory, and La Grande Vallée, among myriad triumphs of blueness.

PAUL CÉZANNE (1839-1906) Le Chateau Noir 1900-1904
OIL ON CANVAS © national gallery of art, washington


Today I went to see his pictures again . . . one feels their presence drawing together into a colossal reality. As if these colors could heal one of indecision once and for all. The good conscience of these reds, these blues, their simple truthfulness, it educates you . . . 

(Rilke, Letters on Cézanne)

Paul Cézanne (1839-1906) Still Life with Onions 1896-1898
Oil on canvas © RMN (Musée d’Orsay)

I want to die painting

– Paul Cézanne

Absolute fabulous stuff, also for the future painter of Hudson River Day Line, Blue Territory, and La Grande Vallée; Joan Mitchell

Joan Mitchell (1925-1992) Blue Territory 1972

OIL ON CANVAS © albright-knox gallery


When I am working, I am only aware of the canvas and what it tells me to do. I am certainly not aware of myself. Painting is a way of forgetting oneself. Sometimes I am totally involved. It’s like riding a bicycle with no hands. I call that state ‘no hands.’ I am in it. I am not there any more. It is a state of non-self-consciousness. It does not happen often. I am always hoping it might happen again. 

– Joan Mitchell 

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