Ninth Street Women
In response to an exhibition of Louise Nevelson's work in 1946, a critic said, "We learned the artist was a woman, in time to check our enthusiasm. Had it been otherwise, we might have hailed these sculptural expresssions as by surely a great figure among the moderns."
Louise Nevelson, Sky Cathedral, 1964.











After WWII, the U.S. emerged as a powerful world economic, political and cultural leader....


Cologne Cathedral after allied bombing
Alfred Eisenstaedt, V.J. Day, 1945.
"The Kissing Sailor or 'The Selective
Blindness of Rape Culture'"











Female WWII Pilots

and the women who had been an integral part of the war effort were told to go home to their shiny pots & pans.











Lucy and Ethel in the candy factory






















Abstract Expressionism = term used to describe a wide variety of work produced in New York between 1940 and 1960
  • As the name suggests, the style combines two important strains of modern art:
  • Abstraction - emphasized a non-representational, formalist approach to the picture plane
  • Expressionism - sought emotional responses from both the artist and the viewer
Formalism = the concept that a work's artistic value is entirely determined by its form - the way it is made, its purely visual aspects and its medium.  Formalism emphasizes compositional elements such as color, line, shape and texture rather than realism, context and content.
Lee Krasner, Cornucopia, 1958.











The Abstract Expressionists worked intuitively
City Landscape
automatism = technique whereby the usual intellectual control of the artist over the brush is foregone.  The artist's aim is to allow the subconscious to create the artwork without rational reference.
  • Resulting in highly personal marks generated by the subconscious
  • As if the artist were delving deeply into their psyche and spilling their inner beings onto the canvas

Joan Mitchell, City Landscape, 1955.











Cedar Tavern





















Images Surfacing


Highest praise given to Krasner by Hofmann: "this painting is so good you'd never know it was done by a woman."
Image Surfacing sold at auction in 2004 for $153,000
In 2006, a work by Pollock from the same period was purchased privately for $140 million, making it the most expensive work of art at the time
Lee Krasner, Image Surfacing, c. 1945.
Hans Hofmann, Bachanale, 1946.











Autumn rhythm

Jackson Pollock, Autumn Rhythm (Number 30), 1950.











Life Magasin 8/8/1949

“The problem with Abstract Expressionism, then and now, is that it had been perceived as a peculiarly male phenomenon.  The standard image of the Abstract Expressionist painter – exemplified by Jackson Pollock – is a hard-drinking, chain-smoking, angst-ridden man hanging out with his cronies at the Cedar Bar or savagely flinging paint at an enormous canvas.” - Nancy  Heller
August 8, 1949 issue of Life Magazine











Krasner and Pollock in front of barn studio
Lee Krasner, Shattered Color, 1947.











Pollock and Krasner in the studio

Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner in the studio, 1949.












Lee Krasner, Noon, 1947.
Lee Krasner, mosaic, 1947.











Lee Krasner, The Seasons, 1956.











Micol Hebron, Sisterhood is Powerful, 2011.