Born in Wealdstone, Middlesex, in 1912, Denis Mitchell was brought up in Swansea and went to evening classes at Swansea College of Art in 1930. Soon after he moved to Barnoon, St Ives.
His interest in modern art was aroused by meeting Bernard Leach and Adrian Stokes when they were in the Home Guard during the War. It was with his brother Endell that he organised the first show of modern art in St Ives at the Castle Inn.
From the late 1940's, Denis became central to the St. Ives modernist artists. Renowned for his polished, dynamic bronzes, he evolved a visual language that was inspired by his intimate knowledge of working in and on the landscape.
He was chief assistant to Barbara Hepworth between 1949 and 1959.He initially worked with wood, slate and stone, but eventually found his own forms in sand-cast bronze. His implicit understanding of the balance of line and form created by the interplay of light and surface imbues Mitchell's tall abstract sculptures with a unique vitality.