Lee Krasner: A Biography
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Perhaps best known as the long-suffering wife of Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner is now, finally, being recognized as one of the 20th century’s modernist masters. In Lee Krasner, author Gail Levin gives us an engrossing biography of the painter—so memorably portrayed in the movie Pollack by actor Marcia Gay Harden, who won an Academy Award for her performance—a firebrand and trailblazer for women’s rights as well as an exceptional artist who led a truly fascinating life.
in. I shall never forget it. We went into this room where there was a stretcher [quilt frame] the full space of the room. The women were seated against the walls of the room, working on a quilt. It was quite a sight to behold: to have the door opened and to be confronted with I don’t know how many women sitting around and working on this quilt…. I was very taken with what I had seen. I asked about this and that and ordered three quilts…. Gee’s Bend is very implanted in my mind.”52 Back in New
the Heckscher Building at 730 Fifth Avenue. The museum’s director, Alfred H. Barr, Jr., told the press that “several art connoisseurs who had been known for their antipathy to modern painting were ‘converted’ after seeing the exhibition.”55 Founded by three progressive and socially prominent women—Miss Lillie P. Bliss, Mrs. Cornelius J. (Mary Quinn) Sullivan, and Mrs. John D. (Abby Aldrich) Rockefeller, Jr.—the Modern challenged the conservative outlook of the National Academy. Curious and
in even worse straits than usual and we hope to make sales a special feature of the show. Dental services will be one of the most welcome media of exchange for works of art. Medical care and clothing will also be acceptable. Best of all, however, will be the offer of rent for six months or a year,” declared a spokesperson.23 In the summer of 1933 the John Reed Club, which had been founded in 1929 as a Communist organization of artists and writers and was named for the American journalist, poet,
Academy or with Job Goodman, not even aiming at the subtle chiaroscuro of the old masters. Her classmate Perle Fine recalled Krasner’s distress when she arrived late one Monday morning after the class had been sketching from the same model for two or three weeks. Taking one look at her drawing, Krasner began to exclaim aloud, “It’s all wrong. It’s all wrong! It’s all changed!”33 The other students looked to Krasner and her drawing. She explained, “She’s cut her hair,” a deed that, while
gardening.”17 “We were so busy for about two years tearing off wall paper and burning up the contents of the house (which we finally had to buy because the owners wouldn’t clean it out) that we didn’t have time to do much else.”18 Their life in the country was “most conservative, quiet.”19 Krasner recalled that “in the early days it wasn’t an art colony…. A lot of our friends then were writers, very few artists. Ashawagh Hall, the little building down the road, was the community center.”20 She