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Lee Krasner (1908 – 1984)


Influential abstract expressionist American painter in the second half of the 20th Century; she was married with Jackson Pollock till his death in 1956.
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Lee Krasner
Right up until today (16 years after his death in 1956, ed.) Pollock takes a lot of mine time... ...and while you ask ’How much did it take out of me as a creative artist’ I ask simultaneously, ‘What did it give?’ It is a two-way affair at all times. I would give anything to have someone giving me what I was able to give Pollock.
Krasner quotes
I think every once in a while I feel the need to break my medium... ...if I have been doing a very large painting I like to drop into something in small scale. It is a challenge to go into this size. It is just to hold my own interest, and then each media has its own conditions.
Krasner
I do not mean extended, to mean esthetic definition of space. For me, it is a matter of whether the canvas allows me to breathe or not – if the canvas soars into space or if it is earthbound. When it is earthbound it irritates me enormously. I would like to soar in a canvas.




Krasner Lee quotes
His (Mondrian's, ed.) comment was: ‘You have a very strong inner rhythm. You must never lose it’. Then we moved on. Piet Mondrian had said something quiet beautiful to me. Hofmann (famous American abstract art teacher of German origin, ed.) was also excited and enthusiastic about what I was doing at this time (around 1938) but his comment was: ‘This is so good that you would not know it was done by a woman’. His was a double-edged compliment. But Mondrian’s evaluation rides through beautifully.
Krasner Lee
I merge what I call the organic with what I call the abstract, which is what you (interviewer Cindy Nemser, ed.) are calling the geometric. As I see both scales, I need to merge these two in the ever-present. What they symbolize I have never stopped to decide. You might want to read it as matter and spirit and the need to merge as against the need to separate. Or it can be read as male and female.
Lee Krasner quotes
In 1946 what I call my ‘Little Image’ began breaking through this (former) gray matter of mine. I felt fantastic relief that something was beginning to happen after all this time when there was nothing, nothing, nothing… …The canvas is down on a floor or table and I am working out of a tiny can. In other words, I have to hold the paint so I can move it. But I wouldn’t have been using Duco (industrial paint, ed.). My paint would always have been oil and I could get the consistency of a thick pouring quality in it by squeezing it into a can and cutting it with turp (turpentine, ed.) – the way I use paint today (1975, ed.)... ...The only thing I can say with absolute assurance is that my ‘Little Image’ work starts about 1946 and ends in 1949.
Lee Krasner
I went into my own black-out period (1942 – 1945, ed.) which lasted two or three years where the canvases would simply build up until they’d get like stone and it was always just a gray mess. The image wouldn’t emerge, but I worked pretty regularly. I was fighting to find I knew not what, but I could no longer stay with what I had.
Krasner Lee quotes
Without getting complicated let me recapitulate my art training in the following way: the Academy first, the break with the Academy when I hit the Hofmann School which is Cubist. The next real break follows when I see Pollock’s work (1940/41, ed.) and once more another transition occurs... ...It was a force (Pollock’s work, ed.), a living force, the same sort of thing I responded to in Matisse, in Picasso, in Mondrian. Once more, I was hit that hard with what I saw... ...I began feeling the need to break with what I was doing and to approach something else.
Krasner
If I'm going back on myself, I'd like to think it is a form of growth.
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