This small town symbolized the archetype of pastoral American life. Yet this idyllic place was also held hostage by a dark past, manifesting in the racial tensions that scar much of American history.
Lee Krasner (1908–1984) was born in Brooklyn as Lena Krassner and grew up in an Orthodox Jewish, Russian émigré family. She decided to become an artist at the age of 14, and was one of the first artists in New York to adopt an entirely abstract approach. She went on to be one of the pioneers of Abstract Expressionism. In 1942, her work was included in a group exhibition entitled French and American Painting, and the only fellow exhibitor that she had not met was Jackson Pollock, so she decided to visit his studio. From then on, they were together and in 1945 they married and moved to Springs, Long Island.
Unlike many of her contemporaries, Krasner refused to develop a “signature image,” which she considered to be “rigid rather than being alive.” Working in cycles, she continually sought out new means for authentic expression, even during the most tumultuous of times, which included Jackson Pollock’s emotional volatility and his sudden death in a car crash in 1956. Krasner’s formidable spirit is felt throughout the body of work that she created over more than fifty years in the studio.