Two Joan Mitchell paintings could bring more than $19 million total at Phillips.
Joan Mitchell, Untitled, 1979. Courtesy of Phillips.
Two Joan Mitchell paintings will be on offer as part of Phillips’s upcoming 20th century and contemporary art evening sale on December 7th. The paintings, an untitled canvas from 1953–54 and an untitled diptych from 1979, are expected to sell for between $19 million and $27 million—the former bears an estimate of $10 million to $15 million, while the diptychis estimated between $9 million to $12 million.
The two works bookend Mitchell’s groundbreaking career, with Untitled (1953—54) dating from the beginning of the most sought-after period of her practice, which lasted through the early 1960s. Phillips is hoping for an additional surge in interest ahead of a major retrospective set to open at the Baltimore Museum of Art next March, which will then travel to the San Francisco Museum of Art.
Joan Mitchell, Untitled, 1953–54. Courtesy of Phillips.
This auction announcement is in line with recent recognition of Mitchell’s work on the secondary market; six out of Mitchell’s top seven auction records have come since 2018. If Untitled (1953–54) reaches its high estimate, it would become Mitchell’s second-highest auction result—her record, set by Blueberry (1969) at Christie’s in 2018, is $16.6 million. According to Artsy data, demand for Mitchell’s work has been steadily increasing year after year, with a particularly notable spike from 2016 to 2017, when inquiries nearly doubled.