Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Did You Know :: Lee Krasner

Lee Krasner was:
• Born October 27, 1908, to a Russian Jewish immigrant family.
• Studied at the Cooper Union, the Art Students League of New York, and the National Academy of Design.
• Employed by the Public Works of Art Project in 1934, the first New Deal art program, and relied upon the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project until the program ended in 1943.
• Studied in the studio of renowned “first generation” Abstract Expressionist painter Hans Hofmann from 1937-1940. This experience profoundly altered her art: from a figurative, representational style to a geometrically-inspired, Cubist-influenced, expression. In one of his critiques of her work, Hofmann reportedly exclaimed “this painting is so good it could have been painted by a man.” She never forgot the experience.
• Met her more famous husband, Jackson Pollock, in 1941, though they had an informal encounter years earlier, in 1936, at a Federal Art Project party.
• Deeply appreciated the work of Mondrian and Matisse.
• Worked in collage, and also cut her paintings and studies into pieces to create them. Partly because of this working style, scholars believe that only 599 of her paintings exist today.
• In 1956, returned to a style that included figurative elements, though now more abstract than in her early career, in which human, animal, and especially plant forms are prominent.
• Vision and Revision are two constant themes in her work, connecting to cycles of life in nature.
• Died in 1984, shortly before the first full retrospective exhibition of her work opened at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. In MoMA’s history, she is still one of just four women to have a solo retrospective exhibition ever.