Collection 1950s–1970s

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Lee Krasner. Untitled. 1949 448

Oil on board, 48 x 37" (121.9 x 93.9 cm). Gift of Alfonso A. Ossorio. © 2024 Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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

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.

Glenn Lowry: In the 1960s, Krasner spoke about how these forms grew out of her childhood experience.

Lee Krasner: 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 isn't 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.