October 27, 1908 - June 19, 1984
Lee Krasner (born Lena Krassner) was an influential American abstract expressionist painter in the second half of the 20th century. She was married to the famous pop-art painter Jackson Pollock, in whose shadow she had to find her own way to fame.
Lee Krasner - In Jackson Pollock's Shadow
Krasner was born as Lena Krassner in Brooklyn, New York, to a family of Russian-Jewish immigrants who arrived in the new world from Bessarabia, now Moldova, then - part of the Russian Empire.
She studied at The Cooper Union and the National Academy of Design and after graduation worked on the WPA Federal Art Project. Her lifetime love affair with Cubism began in 1937, when she took classes with the famous painter and modernist Hans Hofmann, who later steered Lee's art towards neo-cubist abstraction.
Quite in line with the sexist customs of the time, Hofmann once exclaimed after seeing her latest work: "This is so good you would not know it was painted by a woman!"
In 1940, still a student, Krasner started showing her works with the American Abstract Artists, a group of influential American painters. She would often cut apart her paintings to create collages and, being extremely - sometimes excessively so - self-critical, revised or discarded entire series! As a result, the number of her works that have survived the unusual creative process is relatively small - only 599 known pieces.
At the same time, her critical eye served an important role when she married the legendary pop artist Jackson Pollock in 1945 - she was his unofficial advisor and influenced his style to a considerable degree.
She oftentimes struggled with the public's reception of her identity, both as a woman and as the wife of the famed artist. It was because of this, that she often signed her works with the genderless initials "L.K." instead of her full full name.
Just six months after Lee Krasner death, New-York's Museum of Modern Art held a retrospective exhibition of her work - only the fourth retrospective of a woman artist to be shown at the museum!
She was portrayed in an Oscar-winning drama Pollock (2000) by Marcia Gay Harden.
Naifeh, Steven and Smith, Gregory White, Jackson Pollock: an American saga, Published by Clarkson N. Potter, Inc.1989
Anne M Wagner. Three Artists (three Women) : Modernism and the Art of Hesse, Krasner, and O'Keeffe. (Berkeley: University of California, 1996
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