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Abstract Expressionism: A New Art for a New World

After the atrocities of World War II, many artists felt that the world needed to be reinvented


Lee Krasner
(American, 1908–1984)

1949. Oil on composition board, 48 x 37" (121.9 x 93.9 cm)

Untitled is part of a series from the late 1940s called Little Images. Krasner made these paintings—none larger than three feet—while working on a tabletop in her bedroom. To make this work, she applied thick paint using repetitive strokes, often squeezing paint straight out of the tube. The resulting composition was an allover, gridlike structure filled with markings that look like symbols or letters.

Krasner had studied Hebrew as a child, but as an adult she no longer could read or write the language. Formally, she likened the indecipherable symbols in these paintings to Hebrew but insisted that she was interested in creating a language of private symbols that did not relate to one specific meaning.

A work of art made from paint applied to canvas, wood, paper, or another support (noun).

The arrangement of the individual elements within a work of art so as to form a unified whole; also used to refer to a work of art, music, or literature, or its structure or organization.