Denis Mitchell was a British painter and sculptor. Born in Middlesex, England in 1912, Mitchell was raised in Swansea, Wales. He attended evening classes at the Swansea College of Art in 1930 before relocating to the artistic centre of St Ives in Cornwall in the same year. The small town, home to an ever-increasing group of innovative artists, provided the perfect atmosphere for Mitchell to explore his artistic temperament. He initially began his artistic career as a painter however during the Second World War, Mitchell served as a tin miner where his time spent carving rock and handling tools is said to have influenced his attraction to sculptural forms.
Following the War, Mitchell pursued his new-found interest in sculpture. He worked for the sculptor Barbara Hepworth as her principal assistant between the years of 1949 to 1959 and during this time Mitchell, though he had initially sculpted using media such as wood, slate and stone, honed his appreciation and command of working with bronze, which became the primary media of his sculpture . Using a local foundry to sand-cast the initial shapes Mitchell would use his manual skills honed during his time at Hepworth’s studio to streamline and perfect the surface of his designs. The artist was an active member of the lively post-war St Ives art scene and counted several eminent abstract artists among his friends and influencers. In 1955 Mitchell was elected Chairman of the Penwith Society, and after moving to the Cornish village of Newlyn in the late 1960s the artist acted as a great proponent of the Newlyn artistic community. His appeal spread far beyond his beloved Cornwall communities. Between the years 1973 to 1979 an exhibition of Mitchell’s distinctive sculptures was toured by the British Council throughout Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea and New Zealand. The artist continued to sculpt late in to his life until his death in 1993. His work remains in a number of leading collections throughout Britain, including that of the Tate.
For more information, including a full catalogue raisonné, please visit the Denis Mitchell website here.