(1908 - 1984)
Lee Krasner has always been known as one of the toughest and unflinching New York abstract expressionists to emerge from the postwar era. A superb draftsman, Krasner used her mastery of line and color to produce paintings that are both elegiac and fierce, filled with ripe, bulbous shapes and almost demonic lines and images that haunt or cut into her animated and agitated pictorial fields. Amidst the calligraphic decisiveness of a work, one sees suggestions of faces and twisting bodies, set within a matrix that is largely abstract. By limiting her palette to the monochromatic black and white, Krasner brings abstract gesture to the fore and minimizes figurative associations. Yet there is a constant shifting in her work, between abstraction and representation, gesture and depiction, that speaks of the influence of Hans Hofmann, her mentor, who championed a post-cubist theory of spatial indeterminacy known as “push-pull.” In contrast to the increasingly grandiose scale of abstraction through the 1950s, Krasner's work remained inward and deliberative, closer to European artists such as Matisse and Bonnard. Resolutely organic, her works had a rhythm that spoke of her engagement with pigment and canvas, a quality also found in the work of her husband, the painter Jackson Pollock.