Skip to main content

Fred Mitchell papers, 1938-2007

Biographical Note

Fred Mitchell (1923-2013), a painter and educator who worked in New York City, was among the first artists to open a studio in Coenties Slip on the East River in downtown Manhattan.
A native of Meridian, Mississippi, Madison Fred Mitchell (always called Fred), won a Scholastic Magazine award and his work was shown in its "15th Annual National High School Art Exhibit" held at the museum of the Carnegie Institute in 1942. Mitchell studied at the Carnegie Institute of Technology for a year before entering the U. S. Army. After World War II ended, he resumed his education at Cranbrook Academy of Art (BFA 1946 and MFA 1956). He moved to New York in 1951 and became a member of the "Downtown Group." In 1952 he was among the organizers of Tanager Gallery and in 1954 founded the Coenties Slip School of Art.
Mitchell enjoyed a long career as a highly regarded teacher of drawing, painting, and art history. He taught at Finch College, the Positano Art Workshop in Italy, and Cranbrook Academy in the 1950s. During the 1960s, he was affiliated with Downtown Art Center at Seamens Church Institute in Coenties Slip, New York University, Cornell University, and Ithaca College. In the early 1970s Mitchell taught at Queens College, and from the mid-1980s-early 2000s served on the faculties of Parsons School of Design, Art Students League of New York, and City University of New York's Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn.
He exhibited widely in group shows and solo exhibitions in the New York area and throughout the United States. Among these venues were: Howard Wise Gallery, Meridian Museum, Munson-Williams-Proctor Art Institute, State University of New York Binghamton, University of Oregon, and Whitney Museum of American Art.
After several years of declining health, Fred Mitchell died in New York City in 2013.