Painter Lee Krasner was active in the New York School of Abstract Expressionists (aka A. E. artists) while living in Greenwich Village. Like most of the A. E. artists in the Village, Lee was keeping her eye out for opportunities to show her work. But Lee didn’t let looking for exhibition venues district her from quality time in the studio. Over many years of active studio activity, Lee learned a great deal about her self. She did willingly step back to promote her rising star husband—Jackson Pollock—but both Pollock and Lee had studios at their Hampton residence.
After Jackson’s death, Lee rejuvenated her career and began to make her way into the inner sanctum that was the New York City gallery scene. She was still referred to as Jackson Pollock’s wife, but Krasner would not be distracted. She was able to get some group and solo exhibitions and slowly built her own repetition separate from Jackson. Lee was well trained as she pursued education/mentoring from faculty at Cooper Union, National Academy of Design, the famed Art Students League of NYC, and extended study with Hans Hofmann.
These educational experiences molded Lee in terms of character, understanding herself, and learning communication/expressionist skill as a painter. During her formative years after Jackson’s death, Lee would have opportunities to speak with young, emerging artists as well as patrons at exhibition openings. Lee consistently acknowledged her growing years being mentored by artists. Lee was fond of saying the following:
“The key is what is within the artist. The artist can only paint what she or he is about…I need to be alone for certain periods of time or I violate my own rhythm…I never want to violate an inner rhythm. I loathe to force anything. I don’t know if the inner rhythm is Eastern or Western. I know it is essential for me. I listen to it and I stay with it. I have always been this way. I have regards for the inner voice…At that point it certainly would be called abstract. That is to say, you had a model and there’d be one or two or three people there drawing the model but otherwise you had abstractions all around the room, even though the model was in front of you.”
What are your thoughts when you read an artist telling you she needs” to be alone for certain periods of time or I violate my own rhythm? Do you suspect this “alone time” may be applied to situations outside the artist’s studio?
Lee Krasner, Untitled, 1940
Lee Krasner, Untitled, 1948
Lee Krasner, Untitled, 1949