Lee Krasner 1908 - 1984 American Abstract Expressionism/ New York School Collage Artists, Painters
Lee Krasner was born in Brooklyn in 1908. Her desire to become a professional artist led her to pursue an education at various academies. Uunder the guidance of such masters as Hans Hofmann, Krasner came to fully appreciate Cubism and other European modernist developments. During the 1930s she worked for the Federal Art Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA) as an artist, teacher, and vocational trainee. She joined American Abstract Artists, exhibited with the group, and gained momentum as an American modernist. Krasner was asked to participate in French and American Painting, a group exhibition organized by the artist John Graham in 1942. Among the lesser-known Americans in the show were Willem de Kooning and Jackson Pollock, who lived a block from Krasner. She visited his studio and compared the impact of his work to an explosion. She introduced him to de Kooning, thereby initiating an infamous and volatile friendship. Not only was Krasner taken by Pollock’s painting, but she began a romantic relationship with him shortly after the exhibition and largely put her work aside in support of him. Later in 1942, she and Pollock were living together and working together for the WPA. Krasner, who was in a supervisory position, arranged for Pollock to work with her. In 1945, she and Pollock shared a summer rental in Springs with fellow artist Reuben Kadish. Krasner thought that the East End would be the perfect retreat, where she and Pollock could concentrate on their art and where Pollock could cut down on his drinking. She persuaded Pollock's dealer and patron, Peggy Guggenheim, to lend them the down payment on a farmhouse in Springs. The two artists married in October 1945, and moved to their new home the following month. Pollock converted the barn to a studio, while Krasner used a small upstairs bedroom in the house for painting. She had her first solo exhibition at the Betty Parsons Gallery in 1951 and exhibited three years’ worth of collages at the Stable Gallery in 1955. The following year she abruptly changed direction, returning to a sensuous, painterly style in which human, animal, and plant forms play prominent roles. By the mid-1950s her relationship with Pollock was in ruins—he was drinking heavily, had taken a mistress, and was no longer painting, while Krasner’s work was progressing rapidly. After Pollock was killed in an automobile accident, Krasner continued to paint and achieved some success. She created larger works with a lyrical quality of form and a sensuality in the application of the paint. By the 1960s, Krasner had moved into Pollock’s barn-studio in Springs, and as she worked through the 1970s, she confirmed her position as a seminal American Abstract Expressionist.