This work is part of Krasner’s Little Image series of the late 1940s, which she began soon after she and her husband, Jackson Pollock, moved from New York City to Springs, New York, on Long Island. Working in a small bedroom she used as her studio, she applied thick paint—sometimes directly from the tube—in rhythmic and repetitive strokes, giving equal attention to every inch of the canvas. Like many of her peers, Krasner invented a language of private symbols that implied but did not specify meaning.
Curator, Ann Temkin: Lee Krasner, for many years, was best known as the wife of Jackson Pollock, and the person who spent much of her career supporting his. But, in fact, she too was a painter.
Director, Glenn Lowry: Curator Ann Temkin
Curator, Ann Temkin: And, in 1949, she made a body of work, much like the one you see here, none of which had titles, which work on the principle of hieroglyphics, which seem to be housed in individual boxes that make up a grid that goes all over the canvas, and have a kind of spirit of language, even though none of them is actually something we can read or relate to a specific sound or letter.
Director, Glenn Lowry: In the 1960s, Krasner spoke about how these forms grew out of her childhood experience.
Lee Krasner (Archival): I had to study Hebrew and I had to learn to write in Hebrew. I can neither read it today nor can I write.
But I have endless messages that go on indefinitely in a kind of hieroglyph of some sort which certainly isnt true Hebrew or any other language. And I cant say that consciously I can relate it to any specific thing. But suddenly it was there, so it shows up in a bit in the painting at that time.