|Lee Krasner Combat, 1965 Oil on canvas 179 × 410.4 cm
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Felton Bequest, 1992 (IC1-1992)
© The Pollock-Krasner Foundation
September 18, 2020 - January 10, 2021
Museo Guggenheim Bilbao
Lee Krasner (b. 1908; d. 1984) was a pioneer of Abstract Expressionism, the movement that made New York a thriving center for modern art in the postwar period. Born in Brooklyn, in an Orthodox Jewish, Russian émigré family, she decided to become an artist at 14. She applied to the only school in New York that offered an art course for girls and would later study at the Cooper Union, the National Academy of Design, and the Hans Hofmann School of Fine Arts.
Krasner was one of the first artists in New York to adopt an entirely abstract approach, and in 1942 she was included in the exhibition American and French Paintings at the McMillen Inc., alongside her friends Willem de Kooning and Stuart Davis. The one fellow exhibitor that she had not met before was Jackson Pollock, so she decided to visit his studio. In 1945 they married and moved to Springs, Long Island.
Unlike many of her contemporaries, Krasner refused to develop a 'signature image,' which she considered to be too rigid. Working in cycles, she sought out new means for authentic expression, even during the most tumultuous of times, including Pollock's sudden death in a car crash in 1956. Krasner's formidable spirit is felt throughout the body of work that she created over more than fifty years in the studio.
Lee Krasner Icarus, 1964 Oil on canvas 116.8 x 175.3 cm