Main content

Inside the NEU: Lee Krasner


In May 2019, Lee Krasner: Living Color made its debut at the Barbican Centre in London. After stops in Frankfurt, Germany, and Bern, Switzerland, the exhibition – including the Neuberger Museum of Art’s own Burning Candles (1955) – has made its final stop at the Guggenheim Bilbao where it will be on view through January 10, 2021.

In this edition of NEU To Do, learn more about Lee Krasner, her pioneering work in Abstract Expressionism, and the Living Color exhibition.


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.

Living Color celebrates Krasner as a pioneer and major figure in the abstract expressionist movement, telling the story of her life and work as a formidable artist whose importance has too often been eclipsed by her marriage to Jackson Pollock.

Working in oil on canvas, ink on paper, and mixed-media collage, she produced works characterized by a sensuous painterly style, her large-scales collages often formed from the artist’s own cut-up paintings and drawings. Many of the nearly 100 works on view were presented for the first time in the UK and Europe.

The first major presentation of Krasner’s work in Europe for more than 50 years, the exhibition also showcases Krasner’s spirit for invention. Unlike many of her contemporaries, Krasner refused to develop a “signature image,” which she considered to be “rigid rather than being alive.”

Watch this short documentary clip compiled from intimate conversations with the artist. Click the title to view in full screen mode.


  • Learn more about the artist in her full bio

  • Learn more about the abstract expressionist movement

  • See Krasner’s Burning Candles (1955) from the Neuberger Museum’s collection

  • See more images in the Lee Krasner: Living Color exhibition

  • Last week (September 29, 2020), exhibition curators Eleanor Nairne (Barbican Art Gallery) and Lucía Agirre (Guggenheim Museum Bilbao) ‘met’ in Spain to talk about the artist and her work in Living Color. Watch A Conversation on Lee Krasner (Spanish language with English subtitles) to learn even more about her work.

Lee Krasner: Living Color is curated by Eleanor Nairne and Lucía Agirre and organised by the Barbican Centre, London, in cooperation with the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, the Zentrum Paul Kee, Bern, and the Guggenheim Bilbao. Generous support was provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.


October 5, 2020