Towards One

Towards One

Lee Krasner (American, 1908-1984)

Currently on View in K405
Image Licensing

Thickly layered, interlocking brushstrokes and paint splatters dance across this canvas in a bold palette-Kelly green, olive green, fuchsia, gold, and ivory. This work has a clear compositional structure, in its pink latticework of brushstrokes bounded by thinner areas of olive green, but it also presents an intuitive style of painting: Krasner's borders appear unable to contain her own gestural marks and splatters. This large-scale painting emphasizes Krasner's interest in working with the entire surface of the canvas to create an "all over" composition. The title, Towards One, was applied to the painting by Krasner after the canvas was completed, based on the mood it evoked for her.

Indianapolis Museum of Art: Highlights of the Collection (2005)

Lee Krasner worked figuratively in the 1930s, created Cubist-inspired works in the 1940s, and moved into the realm of Abstract Expressionism during the 1950s. The Marlborough-Gerson Gallery in New York City included Towards One in a 1968 exhibition of Krasner's work. Critics favorably endorsed the show as evidence of Krasner's artistic maturity, citing her inventive use of color and gesture. Now an example of her midcareer style, this large-scale, allover painting, which lacks any single compositional focus, emphasizes Krasner's interest in the entire surface of the canvas. Yet the title, Towards One, suggests the goal of compositional unity.

Thickly layered, interlocking calligraphic brushstrokes and splashes of paint dance across the canvas in an unexpected palette of Kelly and olive greens, fuchsia, gold, and ivory. The pink brushstrokes create a kind of latticework that contains all the other pigments, while around the perimeter of the canvas thinner areas of olive green try to contain the energetic marks and splatters within. But the bold, gestural marks ultimately triumph, forcing their way beyond the limits of the canvas into the surrounding world. Krasner studied at the National Academy and at the Hans Hofmann School in New York City. Piet Mondrian, Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse, and Jackson Pollock, Krasner's husband, proved to be the greatest influences on her art.

These paintings dance and prance and sweep and swerve and shout in their enthusiasm. . . . It is not a mindless outpouring, of course-intellectual control is behind the free spirit in every canvas.
-Playwright Edward Albee, 1991

Object Information

Lee Krasner (American, 1908-1984)
creation date
oil on canvas
68-1/2 x 75 in
accession number
credit line
Gift of the Herron Museum Alliance
© Pollock-Krasner Foundation / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Contemporary Art

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