Born in Chicago in 1925, Joan Mitchell grew up to be a central figure of second-generation Abstract Expressionism. Educated at Smith and the Art Institute of Chicago, she moved to New York, where her disobedient gestural brushstrokes wielded vibrant swaths of color. Often inspired by nature, its chaos as well as its beauty, Mitchell once explained that she tried “to paint what it leaves me with.” In her later years, Mitchell settled in Vétheuil, a quaint town near Paris where Monet once lived. Co-organized with the Baltimore Museum of Art, this major survey examines Mitchell’s early work, pre-France, as well as the large-scale, multi-panel masterpieces of her later years. —E.C.