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Books  >>  Biography

Gail Levin

Lee Krasner

Gail Levin Lee Krasner A Biography
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Main description:

Lee Krasner is best known as the artist-wife of Jackson Pollock, the renowned abstract expressionist painter. Yet in this riveting biography, the first full-length account of her colorful life, Krasner emerges as a significant artist who deserves her place in the twentieth century's cultural lexicon.

In this captivating book, art historian Gail Levin probes Krasner's relationship with Pollock, examining how this strong woman struggled to meet the challenges of their poverty, as well as her husband's alcoholism and extramarital affair, all the while encouraging his art. Drawing on new sources and numerous personal interviews—including with Krasner herself—Levin has written a dynamic and moving portrait of a brilliant woman, a most welcome work that recovers Krasner's voice and allows us to understand how her life intersected with and informed her art.

Review quote:

“[B]iographer Gail Levin sets the record straight: Krasner was a fierce, fascinating and gifted artist... Lee Krasner adds more luster, meticulously tracing the artist’s life.”

Review quote:

“Art historian Gail Levin’s Lee Krasner is a quintuple whammy of a biography—the story of a major artist; a description of a notorious marriage; an education in 20th-century art; a gossipy immersion into Bohemian New York; and a settling of scores against those who practiced gender bias.”

Review quote:

“Art historian Levin befriended Krasner, starting when she was a grad student who interviewed the artist, and she gives Krasner a well-deserved full-fledged bio.”

Review quote:

“Compelling. Art historian Gail Levin has drawn on her close association with Lee Krasner and extensive research to produce a biography that rings fair and true.

Review quote:

“For the love of art....Art historian Gail Levin frames the extremely colorful life of Lee Krasner, major ass-kicking Abstract Expressionist and formidable genius in her own right, better known for boosting the career of her splashier-than-life husband, Jackson Pollock.”

Review quote:

“Gail Levin’s biography of Lee Krasner beautifully evokes a period in American art that laid the groundwork for the women artists of today. Lee... contributed wonderful work but also encouraged a whole new generation of artists. She grew into true generativity. Bless her and her biographer!”

Review quote:

“It’s about time someone set the record straight about artist Lee Krasner.... Absorbing.... Succinct... Invaluable.... A compelling biography that is as important an addition to the library of American art as any book on Pollock.”

Review quote:

“Levin deftly connects Krasner’s biography to the social and political upheaval of the time. Her long experience in the art world gives insight into the landscape of 20th-century artists, art dealers and museums.”

Review quote:

“Levin...is now the first to tell Krasner’s captivating story, writing with equal insight into her teperament, experiences, and art....A consummate scholar, marvelously lucid writer, and gracefully responsible biographer, Levin redresses glaring omissions in the history of abstract art in this imperative portrait of a formidable artist.”

Review quote:

“Meticulous Lee Krasner celebrates Krasner’s accomplishments as an artist, distinct from her famous husband. The book...gives voice to the indomitable but not invulnerable force of nature that was Lee Krasner . . . .Energetic, stubborn, seductive...Krasner comes memorably alive.”

Review quote:

“Ms. Levin’s perceptive, judicious book reveals Krasner as a fine, important painter....This is an insightful, sharply drawn portrait of 20th-century America from the vantage poiPerhaps 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.


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