Lee Krasner
1908–1984

Introduction

Lenore "Lee" Krasner (born Lena Krassner; October 27, 1908 – June 19, 1984) was an American painter and visual artist active primarily in New York whose work has been associated with the Abstract Expressionist movement. She received her early academic training at the Women's Art School of Cooper Union, and the National Academy of Design from 1928 to 1932. Krasner's exposure to Post-Impressionism at the newly opened Museum of Modern Art in 1929 led to a sustained interest in modern art. In 1937, she enrolled in classes taught by Hans Hofmann, which led her to integrate influences of Cubism into her paintings. During the Great Depression, Krasner joined the Works Progress Administration's Federal Art Project, transitioning to war propaganda artworks during the War Services era.

By the 1940s, Krasner was an established figure among the American abstract artists of the New York School, with a network including painters such as Willem de Kooning and Mark Rothko. However, Krasner's career was often overshadowed by that of her husband, Jackson Pollock, whom she married in 1945. Their life was marred by Pollock's infidelity and alcoholism, while his untimely death in a drunk-driving accident in 1956 had a deep emotional impact on Krasner. The late 1950s to the early 1960s in Krasner's work were characterized by a more expressive and gestural style. In her later years, she received broader artistic and commercial recognition and shifted toward large horizontal paintings marked by hard-edge lines and bright contrasting colors.

During her life, Krasner received numerous honorary degrees, including Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts from Stony Brook University. Following Krasner's death in 1984, critic Robert Hughes described her as "the Mother Courage of Abstract Expressionism" and a posthumous retrospective exhibition of her work was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Pollock-Krasner House and Study Center in Springs, New York and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation were established to preserve the work and cultural influence of her and her husband. The latter has since focused on supporting new artists and art historical scholarship in American art.

Wikidata identifier

Q237959

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Country of birth

United States

Roles

Artist, painter

ULAN identifier

500010144

Names

Lee Krasner, Lee Pollock Krasner, Lenore Krasner, Lenore Krassner, Lee Pollock, Lee Krasner Pollock, Mrs. Jackson Pollock

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Information from the Getty Research Institute's Union List of Artist Names ® (ULAN), made available under the ODC Attribution License. Accessed May 13, 2024.