A powerful and intimate portrait, Joan Mitchell: Portrait of an Abstract Painter captures Mitchell's independent spirit and testifies eloquently to Mitchell's art. Joan Mitchell was born in Chicago in 1926 and died in Paris in 1992. After graduating from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Joan settled in New York City in 1950. She was an active participant of New York's dynamic Abstract Expressionist scene and hung out with fellow painters Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning and Philip Guston and, soon, poets Frank O'Hara, James Schuyler and John Ashbery. In the mid-fifties, she moved to Paris, France. There she was part of a circle of friends that included Pierre Matisse, Samuel Beckett and Alberto Giacometti. Mitchell is one of the great abstract painters of the 20th century. This elegantly edited documentary weaves interviews with the acerbic Mitchell and other leading painters and critics while letting her stunning pictures dominate the film.