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Black and White

Black and white abstract painting with beige vertical shapes.
© 2018 Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

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  • Black and white abstract painting with beige vertical shapes.




Lee Krasner
American, 1908-1984

About this artwork

Lee Krasner’s pictures from the 1940s on were informed by her understanding of the Abstract Expressionist ideal: to infuse abstract, painterly forms with mysterious and significant content. The substantial body of work she created shows her sustained development toward a refined expression of this concept. Black and White is one of Krasner’s first and most important works in a group of early paper collages. The drawings that she disassembled to create these collages echo the work of her husband, Jackson Pollock, from the same period. According to the art historian Ellen Landau, however, it is difficult to determine who originated the strategy of cannibalizing previous works to create new ones. Throughout her career, Krasner employed the technique more consistently than Pollock.

In Black and White, Krasner not only appropriated her own discarded markings but also referred to Pollock’s early-1940s tactic of quoting Pablo Picasso’s studio subjects. She reversed the gender implications of Picasso’s prototypes by showing, at right, a female figure who may be a painter contemplating her works of art, or perhaps a woman looking in a mirror. The artist’s redeployment of studio scraps in a new context helped her, paradoxically, to mark out new aesthetic territory.


Currently Off View


Prints and Drawings


Lee Krasner


Black and White


United States (Artist's nationality:)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Oil paint, gouache, and cut and torn painted paper, with adhesive residue on cream laid paper


76.6 × 57.1 cm (30 3/16 × 22 1/2 in.)

Credit Line

Margaret Fisher Endowment

Reference Number



© 2018 Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Extended information about this artwork

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