Lee Krasner (1908-1984) is widely known for her role in the Abstract Expressionists movement. Influential during the latter half of the 20th Century, Krasner employed a gestural, painterly style. She often re-visited work she considered unsuccessful by cutting them and incorporating pieces into newer work. Recurring interests include life cycles, confrontation, mosaics, and landscape. In the mid-1950s, she introduced collage into her practice, which re-established her significance as an artist. Her printmaking practice played an important role in her collage work. Krasner made prints from collaged studies, incorporated collaged elements into her prints, and collaged prints onto other works. Krasner completed less than 30 prints during her lifetime, all produced between 1962 and 1975, which reflected the style of her paintings and collages. Following the death of her husband, Jackson Pollock, in 1956, Krasner created deeply autobiographical work, lauded for their vulnerability and her use of her entire body. A decade later, she turned to emblematic floral imagery with a Fauvist sensibility.
Born in Brooklyn, NY as Lena Krassner, Krasner attended The Cooper Union, Art Students League, and the National Academy of Design in New York, where she studied from 1928-32. In 1934, she was employed by Public Works of Art Project, the first of the New Deal art patronage programs. Like many of her contemporaries, she would depend on government work, principally for the WPA’s Federal Art Project (FAP), until the agencies were disbanded in 1943. In 1937 she returned to art school, this time at the 8th Street atelier of the celebrated German émigré Hans Hofmann, where she was associated through 1940, radically revising her visual language during this period from naturalistic paintings and drawings to a schematic cubist idiom, in which she created her first mature works.
In 1945, she married fellow artist Jackson Pollock and shortly thereafter they moved from New York to the Springs in East Hampton. During the mid-1950s, she created a series of collage paintings that brought her work favorable attention in the New York art world, and her 1955 collage exhibition at the Stable Gallery in Manhattan re-established her as among the foremost abstract artists of her generation. In the 1960s and 1970s, Krasner continued to refine the nature-derived imagery found in earlier work. Major retrospectives have occurred at Whitechapel Gallery, London (1965); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1973); and the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Texas (1983), which traveled to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, CA, Chrysler Museum of Art, VA, Phoenix Art Museum, AZ, and the Museum of Modern Art, NY. In 2001, the Brooklyn Museum of Art held the first full-scale retrospective of Krasner’s work since her death.
The Pollock-Krasner Foundation was established in 1985 at the request of her will to assist emerging artists.