Meridian Star

June 15, 2013

Madison Fred Mitchell


The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Madison Fred Mitchell, a Meridian native who had an active career as an abstract expressionist painter, passed away at his home in New York City on May 21, at the age of 89.

    Mitchell was born in Meridian on November 24, 1923. Following graduation from Meridian High School, Mitchell attended Carnegie Institute of Technology, in Pittsburgh, on scholarship, until his studies were interrupted by military duty a year later.  Following service in the Army, Mitchell began studies at Cranbrook Academy of Art, in Bloomfield Hills, MI, where he eventually received his M.F.A. In 1948 he received a Pepsi Cola scholarship for his painting, and used the award to travel to Italy to study, primarily in Rome. Mitchell moved to New York City in 1951, and the next year was one of the co-founders of the Tanager Gallery in New York, one of the most influential artist-cooperative galleries of the period.

    Early in his career Mitchell was represented by the Howard Wise Gallery, of Cleveland and New York City; more recently he was represented by the David Findlay, Jr., Gallery, in New York City. Among the dozens of solo exhibitions of his work mounted during his 50-year career were two at the Meridian Museum of Art. Mitchell was noted as a teacher, and held numerous positions: he taught at Cranbrook during the 1950s, and subsequently at New York University, Cornell University, Ithaca College, and several campuses of the City University of New York. During the last decades of his life, he was on the faculty at the Arts Students League in New York.

    Mitchell was preceded in death by his older brother, Tom Lyle Mitchell, Sr., of Birmingham, AL, and sister, Elizabeth Mitchell Pajerski, of Vicksburg.  He is survived by four nephews: Frank Pajerski of Gold River, CA, Fred Pajerski of New York City, Tom Lyle Mitchell of Montgomery, AL, and James Mitchell, of Roswell, GA.

    Mitchell will be interred in Magnolia Cemetery in Meridian on Tuesday, June 18, 2013, at 3 p.m., next to the graves of his parents.