Introduction 7 Lenore Krassner 13 The Modernist 21 "I Am Nature" 35 Collages and Other Conversations 51 Change Is the Only Constant 73 Notes 96 Artists' Statements 99 Notes on Technique 103 Chronology 111 Exhibitions 116 Public Collections 121 Selected Bibliography 122 Index 125
Dr. Robert Hobbs, Rhoda Thalhimer Endowed Professor of American Art History at Virginia Commonwealth University, has taught art history at Florida State, Cornell, and Yale universities, and was director at the University of Iowa Museum of Art. His many publications include Milton Avery, Edward Hopper, and Abstract Expressionism: The Formative Years, and he has curated a number of important exhibitions.
"At nearly every stage of her 15-year marriage to the universally recognized Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner was quicker to respond to stylistic innovations in the art world than her husband. Pollock either didn't catch on to the art-world developments that surrounded him or incorporated changes much later than Krasner did. Some critics read Krasner's dynamic painting style as evidence of her superiority as an artist, but others saw her porousness as a problem, and Pollock's comparative insularity as one key to his uniqueness. In Lee Krasner, Robert Hobbs gracefully analyzes the many forces--of personality, education, and cultural and political milieu--that shaped Krasner's 60-year devotion to art; in the process, he elucidates the many reasons her "artistically constructed self remains provisional." B.H. Friedman, Pollock's first biographer, introduces the book with a gripping series of intimate, you-are-there diary entries from the long years of his friendship with the two artists. Then Hobbs weaves biography and critical interpretation to develop the main text of the book. The reproductions of Krasner's drawings and paintings (97 in color) are excellent, giving a fair picture of her long career, and there are more than a score of black-and-white archival photos of Krasner and the other early abstract expressionists. The book has a few odd omissions though, such as any reference to Mark Tobey, whose "white writing" paintings and others are so closely related stylistically to Krasner's work of the 1940s. Still, this is the respectful but objective book Krasner's vigorous work and forceful personality deserve. It sheds sympathetic light on her lifelong, intellectually rigorous, artistic questing." --Peggy Moorman, Amazon "This impressive critical-biographical study confirms Lee Krasner (1908-1984) as one of the major abstract expressionist artists. Though heavily influenced by her husband Jackson Pollock, she challenged and eventually abandoned his style through a series of paintings that Hobbs interprets as a feminist critique of the macho-oriented art of Pollock, Robert Motherwell, Willem de Kooning and their cronies. An art history professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, Hobbs follows Krasner, daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants in Brooklyn, as she transforms herself from well-connected, belligerent young avant-garde painter to supportive, possessive, acquiescent wife and then to an eclectic pioneer who used her art as an intense confrontation with her subconscious. Her swirling biomorphs, jagged collages, radiant lush abstractions, mythic fragments and apocalyptic images of cities are among the works reproduced in 48 color and 67 b & w plates." --Publishers Weekly Praise for the Modern Masters series: "Each author has thoroughly done his or her homework, knows the historical, critical and personal contexts intimately, and writes extraordinarily well." --Artnews