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Lee Krasner is best known as the artist-wife of Jackson Pollock, the renowned abstract expressionist painter. Yet in this riveting new biography, the first full-length account of her colorful life, distinguished art historian Gail Levin challenges previous portrayals of Krasner, and shows that she was an independent and resourceful woman of uncompromising talent and prodigious energy. Krasner emerges as a significant artist who deserves her place in the twentieth century's cultural lexicon and artistic pantheon.
The daughter of Jewish immigrants newly arrived from Russia, Krasner grew up impoverished in Brooklyn. With no support or role model, she began to make her own way during the late 1920s and early 1930s as a talented, outspoken artist and political progressive. Krasner's contemporaries, who took notice of her remarkable sex appeal, drive, and ambition, were either captivated or threatened, but they all found her memorable. During the Great Depression, she supported herself painting murals for the WPA, was called a Trotskyite for speaking out at the Artists Union, and got arrested for demonstrating on behalf of workers' rights.
In 1936 Krasner first encountered an intoxicated Jackson Pollock at an Artists Union dance. They met again by chance when both were about to be featured in the same group show in 1942, and soon they were a couple, marrying three years later. To nurture Pollock and his talent, Krasner gave up her life in the city, where she had socialized easily with fellow artists such as Arshile Gorky, Willem de Kooning, and Piet Mondrian. Once they moved to Long Island's rural East End, Krasner and Pollock became the center of a new avant-garde community. In this captivating book, Gail Levin probes Krasner's relationship with Pollock, examining how this strong woman struggled to meet the challenges of their poverty, as well as her husband's alcoholism and extramarital affairs, all the while encouraging his art. Levin uncovers never-before-told stories of how Krasner managed so skillfully to market Pollock's work and how this eventually raised prices for all the abstract expressionists.
Drawing on new sources and numerous personal interviews—including with Krasner, whom Levin knew and interviewed during the last years of the artist's life—Levin has written a dynamic, compelling, and moving portrait of a brilliant woman that recovers Krasner's voice and allows us to see that her life intersected with and informed her art.
Excellent material on Lee Krasner and some great views of the art scene which she was much earlier to than Jackson. But did Gail Levin ever throw away a notecard? Read morePublished 4 months ago by Tom Groenfeldt
Plenty of facts, but absolutely no insights. This is a biography without a protagonist--Krasner never emerges as a rounded individual, or even as a particularly interesting... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Peter G
I'm not a big fan of Abstract Expressionism. After reading this biography I gained a greater appreciation of it and especially of Krasner's work. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Lynda Gail Campbell
A good biography of Krasner's life, relations and artistic development despite the early blindness of art critics .Published 12 months ago by rose welch
This is one of the best art books I've read in a long time. Lee Krasner, the wife of Jackson Pollack, was an artist in her own right. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Karen E. Muench
I enjoyed reading this book because I am a biography fan and have visited her home she shared with Jackson Pollock... Read morePublished 21 months ago by RB
After the author got over herself and stopped trying to draw comparisons between Lee Krasner and herself, it turned into a very well written and well researched biography of a... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Eileen Murray