Professor Levin Launches New Book at The Met

Gail Levin, Distinguished Professor of Art History and Women's Studies at the Weissman School of Arts & Sciences, launched her new book, Lee Krasner: A Biography.

Lee Krasner was known for her marriage to one man: Jackson Pollock. But this talented artist enjoyed significant relationships with many men—from her immigrant father to her first lover, the Russian painter Igor Pantuhoff, to her art teachers and close friends, among them the most important artists and critics of her day.

an early review from Vanity Fair:

Finally, the spotlight is focused on artist Lee Krasner, rather than merely including her in the nimbus surrounding her legendary husband, Jackson Pollock. Ensuring that Krasner receive the recognition she deserves has long been a mission for art historian Levin, biographer of Edward Hopper and Judy Chicago.

Levin was a graduate student in 1971 when she first interviewed Krasner, then 62, and she is now the first to tell Krasner’s captivating story, writing with equal insight into her temperament, experiences, and art.

Born in New York to Russian Jewish immigrants, free-spirited Krasner was enthralled by nature and determined to be an artist. Smart, sexy, stylish, funny, tough, and radical, she eked out a living by working for the WPA. Inspired by Matisse and Mondrian, Krasner was among the vanguard of abstract expressionists before she ever met Pollock, a keystone fact in Levin’s meticulous, setting-the-record straight chronicle.

Tough, tenacious, and passionate, Krasner shrewdly and tirelessly championed Pollock’s work while coping with his tragic alcoholism, then lived a long, productive life after his death, heroic in her artistic achievements and triumph over sexism. 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.

— Donna Seaman

The City University of New York