Leading Lady : Lee Krasner

"I am preoccupied with trying to know myself in order to communicate with others. Painting is not separate from life. It is one. It is like asking - do I want to live? My answer is yes - and I paint."

Lee Krasner applied to the only girl's high school in New York City that offered an art major. Her application was denied. Six months later, she applied again and was admitted. She earned high marks in all subjects - except art - where the teacher passed her just so she could graduate. Undaunted, Lee applied to The Cooper Union and was accepted. She began working for the WPA Federal Art Project in the 1930's which provided her valuable experience in large scale art and allowed her to network with other artists.

Lee met Jackson Pollock by arriving at his apartment, uninvited and unannounced. They both had paintings in an exhibition and she wanted to make his acquaintance. The two artists married in 1945. Lee felt so strongly that Pollock's work was significant that she spent much of her time managing his alcoholism and promoting his paintings, allowing his career to overshadow her own. After his untimely death and in an ever-changing art world, Lee worked tirelessly to ensure Pollock gained the recognition she felt he deserved. But Lee never stopped painting.

Lee Krasner began to see greater recognition in the 1970's with the assistance of the women's movement. Lee's high standards led her to cut apart drawings and paintings which she would often create collages from. Her versatility and skill allowed her to adapt her style throughout her career to express herself more fully. She is one of the few female artists to have had a retrospective of her work shown during her lifetime. Lee left most of her fortune to fund The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, which was established to provide financial assistance to artists in need. Through this organization and through her artwork, she continues to influence and inspire generations of painters. - Kelly Longhurst


Photo Credit : Fred Prater