Perhaps best known as the long-suffering wife of Jackson Pollock, Lee Krasner is now, finally, being recognized as one of the 20th century’s modernist masters. In Lee Krasner, author Gail Levin gives us an engrossing biography of the painter—so memorably portrayed in the movie Pollack by actor Marcia Gay Harden, who won an Academy Award for her performance—a firebrand and trailblazer for women’s rights as well as an exceptional artist who led a truly fascinating life.
For far too long, the artist Lee Krasner's reputation has been overshadowed by that of her renowned husband, artist Jackson Pollock. This lively, well-researched biography by Levin (Edward Hopper: An Intimate Biography) finally corrects this injustice. Writing with a novelist's flair for characterization and scene-setting, the author traces Krasner's life through the miseries of the Great Depression to the world of art and leftist politics of New York in the 30s and 40s. While Krasner's artistic genius was temporarily blunted by her marriage, Levin proves she was a phenomenal artist in her own right who was exhausted by having to manage Pollock's personal and artistic life. An artist with a deeply prophetic and eerie style, Krasner's final years with Pollock were awful; mercifully, her "instinct for self-preservation emerged out of the chaos of self-destructive binges," and Krasner set up a separate artistic studio and focused her energies on her own work. This biography crackles with juicy behind-the-scenes stories of America's rarefied mid-century art world, showcasing the genius of the preternaturally gifted Krasner.