Lee Krasner ( American, 1908 - 1984 )

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General Description

In Pollination, Lee Krasner placed sensuously curving abstract forms in contrast to more definitively contoured shapes to create a dynamically charged space with a rhythm of organic movement. Inspired by the textured, richly embellished surfaces of Celtic illumination and Islamic art, Krasner painted a series of large paintings in the mid 1960s to which Pollination belongs. Krasner rigorously studied and assimilated the tenets and traditions of modernism as set forth by Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, Piet Mondrian, and, most particularly, Hans Hofmann, her teacher, from whom she absorbed the theoretical basis of cubism.

Often overshadowed by her husband, Jackson Pollock, Krasner is one of the few women to be recognized for her pioneering contributions to the Abstract Expressionist style. Krasner took her own path in creating art; her work over time shows a variety of styles and range of themes and techniques. In Pollination, a foliate scheme of sensuous biotic forms, hard lines, and highly keyed colors creates a lively rhythm, revealing Krasner's belief that we are "part of nature, not separate from it." This painting is unique because it brings together aspects of her expressionistic approach from two distinct periods in her life. The original canvas, defined by the more gestural, spraying forms, was first painted in the 1950s. Krasner returned to the work in the late 1960s, when she was working in a much more hard-edged style, and added the passages of white. This painting is an external expression of the artist's innermost emotions at the time she made the gesture on the canvas. And although they are intensely personal, even autobiographical, Krasner expresses universal emotions with immediacy and force.

Adapted from

  • Suzanne Weaver, "Pollination," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection, ed. Charles Venable (New Haven, NJ: Yale University Press, 1997), 281.

  • DMA unpublished material, Ground Rules: Selections from the Permanent Collection, BVQ, 2017.

  • DMA unpublished material, Art Everywhere: A Very Very Big Art Show, 2014.

Web Resources

  • DMA Uncrated
    See Oscar-winner Marcia Gay Harden pose in front of Krasner's Pollination, the artist Ms. Harden portrayed in the film Pollock, and for which she won an Academy Award.