Lee Krasner “Collage Paintings 1938–1981”

Kasmin (509 W 27th St.)

poster for Lee Krasner “Collage Paintings 1938–1981”
[Image: Lee Krasner "To the North" (1980) oil and paper collage on canvas, 58 1/2 x 64 in. © 2021 Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Private Collection, New York City.]

This event has ended.

Kasmin presents Lee Krasner: Collage Paintings 1938–1981. Presented in collaboration with the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, featuring several masterpieces from the 1955 debut of Krasner’s collage paintings at the Stable Gallery, as well as significant works from the artist’s 2019–2021 traveling European retrospective, this exhibition provides American audiences with the opportunity to further examine one of Krasner’s most innovative practices.

Throughout her indelible career, Lee Krasner’s tireless and fierce self-examination compelled the artist to destroy previous works and reconstitute their elements into new compositions. This practice of reclaiming past works of her own, as well as of those of her husband, Jackson Pollock, resulted in many of Krasner’s most novel bodies of work in which elements of painting, drawing, and collage coexist in dramatic compositions. Increasingly regarded as one of the most philosophical and unwavering pioneers of the Abstract Expressionist movement in America, Lee Krasner’s collage paintings represent some of the artist’s most conceptual and emotionally charged works.

Included in the exhibition are pivotal works from Lee Krasner Collages at the Stable Gallery, New York, in 1955, which Clement Greenberg would later proclaim as a “major addition to the American art scene of the era.”[1] Reviewing the exhibition, painter Fairfield Porter remarked, “When nature is photographed in detail, its orderliness appears: Krasner’s art, which seems to be about nature, instead of making the spectator aware of a grand design, makes [them] aware of a subtle disorder greater than [they] might otherwise have thought possible.”[2] Stretched Yellow (1955) and Blue Level (1955), which were shown in the Stable Gallery exhibition, are two of a concise group of five works created in the same year in the same imposing vertical scale; the latter of which was also featured in the artist’s recent traveling retrospective.

Following the recent close of Lee Krasner: Living Colour, the tour de force European retrospective curated by Eleanor Nairne of the Barbican Centre, London, which traveled to the Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt, Germany; the Zentrum Paul Klee, Bern, Switzerland; and the Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain, a number of works from the exhibition will also be included in Lee Krasner: Collage Paintings 1938–1981 at Kasmin. With Bald Eagle (1955) Krasner masters the all-over composition and conjures the cut-outs of Henri Matisse, while remaining acutely self-referential in her bold amalgamation of unprimed canvas with parts of Jackson Pollock’s drawings from the 50s. Imperfect Indicative (1976) belongs to “Eleven Ways to Use the Words to See,” a striking series in which Krasner integrated early charcoal drawings that were realized under the tutelage of Hans Hofmann between 1937 and 1940.

Executed during the same period of the charcoal drawings, Seated Figure (1938-39) is the earliest known collage painting by Krasner. A formal feat inspired by Picasso’s cubist style, this work reveals Krasner’s burgeoning interest in integrating collage techniques with oil painting on canvas and linen. Another noteworthy example is To The North (1980), made just four years before the artist’s death, which reveals a degree of assuredness in the starkness of its large pictorial components, making this piece one of the most mature and resolved of Krasner’s collage paintings.

Lee Krasner (1908–1984) is considered one of the most critical figures in the evolution of American art in the second half of the 20th century. Emerging from the first generation of Abstract Expressionist painters, Krasner committed to a six-decade persistent exploration of novel approaches to painting and collage. This is Kasmin’s third solo exhibition of the work of Lee Krasner, which the gallery has represented through the Pollock-Krasner Foundation since 2016. The Foundation, established in 1985, provides vital support to emerging and established artists nationally and internationally. For more information, visit www.pkf.org.

Krasner’s work is held in the permanent collections of major institutions worldwide, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Jewish Museum, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum, New York; Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Tate, London; Cleveland Museum of Art; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Kleefeld Contemporary Art Museum, Long Beach; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Philadelphia Museum of Art; National Gallery of Australia, Sydney; Glenstone Museum, Potomac, Maryland; and the Artizon Museum, Tokyo, Japan, among many others.



from March 11, 2021 to April 24, 2021


Lee Krasner

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