10 Things You Didn’t Know About Lee Krasner

Lee Krasner is one of the most influential figures in the abstract expressionist movement. As an American painter, she not only played a pivotal role in shaping the direction of modern art but also paved the way for future generations of female artists. While many are familiar with her marriage to fellow artist Jackson Pollock, there are several lesser-known facts about Lee Krasner that are worth exploring. In this article, we will reveal ten intriguing facts that offer new insights into the life and achievements of Lee Krasner.


1. Early Life and Background

Lee Krasner was born as Lena Krassner to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents in Brooklyn, New York, in 1908. Growing up in a working-class neighborhood, Krasner discovered her passion for art at a young age. Her supportive parents nurtured her talent and encouraged her to pursue her dreams, leading her to enroll in the Women’s Art School of Cooper Union and later the National Academy of Design. Krasner’s formative years in the bustling art scene of New York City profoundly influenced her artistic development.

Despite facing financial challenges and the societal constraints imposed on female artists during that era, Krasner persevered and honed her skills, establishing herself as a force to be reckoned with in the art world. During her early years as an artist, she experimented with various styles, ranging from realism to abstraction, continually pushing the boundaries of traditional art forms.


2. Pollock Connection and Marriage

One intriguing aspect of Lee Krasner’s life is her relationship with fellow artist Jackson Pollock. They first met at a 1941 art exhibit, where Krasner was immediately drawn to Pollock’s unique artistic approach. Despite the challenges they faced individually as artists, their relationship grew, leading to their marriage in 1945. Krasner’s devotion to Pollock’s career was evident as she often put her own work on hold to support and promote his art, sometimes even disguising her contributions within Pollock’s paintings.

However, it is essential to recognize Lee Krasner as an exceptional artist in her right. She experienced periods of artistic frustration, eventually finding her distinctive style characterized by dynamic compositions and bold, gestural brushwork. As Pollock’s tragic death in 1956 deeply affected her, Krasner embarked on a period of intense creativity, producing some of her most remarkable and powerful artwork.


3. Trailblazing Abstract Expressionist

Lee Krasner’s contributions to the abstract expressionist movement are often overshadowed by her husband’s fame. However, she was an integral part of the New York School and played a substantial role in transforming the art scene. Krasner’s work was exhibited alongside renowned artists such as Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline, consistently defying expectations and challenging the status quo.

Notably, Krasner was the sole female artist included in the famous 1951 Ninth Street Show, a groundbreaking exhibition that showcased the works of emerging abstract expressionist artists. Her participation shattered gender barriers and paved the way for other women artists to gain recognition in a male-dominated art world. Krasner’s relentless pursuit of her artistic vision and determination to excel in her craft has earned her well-deserved acclaim as one of the pioneers of abstract expressionism.


4. Rediscovery and Posthumous Recognition

It wasn’t until after her husband’s death and her own passing in 1984 that Lee Krasner received widespread recognition for her immense talent. The art world began to revisit her significant contributions and acknowledge her role as a groundbreaking female artist. Since then, numerous retrospectives and exhibitions have celebrated Krasner’s artistic legacy, bringing her work to a wider audience.

Today, Krasner’s artwork can be found in prestigious collections and museums worldwide, solidifying her place in art history. Her ability to transcend social and artistic barriers continues to inspire artists and scholars alike, ensuring that her innovative spirit lives on.


For more information about Lee Krasner’s life and art, visit The Art Story.

Discover Lee Krasner’s works at Tate museum.