Joan Mitchell – Barney Rossett, Early Years – New York – Paris

Joan Mitchell Painting
While researching Joan Mitchell’s early years and her friendship with Samuel Beckett,

I came upon this beguiling website.
Found out how Barney Rosset took over Grove Press in 1951 and went on to publish such writers as Samuel Beckett, Henry Miller, William S.Burroughs, and Marguerite Duras, and time after time created landmark cases against censorship in the United States for the right to print these important works.
More about Barney and his coverage of war torn China here. He explains how he got into publishing; “That happened through my first wife, Joan Mitchell, later a very famous artist. Joan’s mother was at one time the editor of Poetry magazine and a poet herself. Joan was a very astute person, with a very good taste for writing, just as good as it was for painting. She was the one who really directly got me into Grove. ”
On publishing Chatterlay’s Lover, Barney said,
“To me, the direct line of descent was – you know, like a lineup in baseball – Lawrence to Miller to Burroughs.

You can read about his lunch with Henry Miller and Samuel Beckett,
or on Beckett’s Film and the Beats.
“I was leaning something today about Beckett’s Film. Within that film, and within Beckett, things go from the state of “I Am” to the state of “I Am Not”. In other words, to die. Film is about a person looking who doesn’t want to be seen,but if he’s not seen he doesn’t exist.The struggle not to be seen is to die,and is to face death. ”

Barney observed Kerouac and Jackson Pollack were similar in a way that they were unhappy and tortured. About the Beats, he said, “Burroughs was the pope, Allen was the heart, and Kerouac was the soul. Allen was the father who loved everybody and could hold them together.” (from

Boys & Gals, a review of Mitchell’s work by John Haber. Here is an entry from a blog on Joan Mitchell.

Frank & Joan
A Look at Their Friendship