LEE KRASNER (1908-1984)
LEE KRASNER (1908-1984)
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LEE KRASNER (1908-1984)

Earth No. 6

LEE KRASNER (1908-1984)
Earth No. 6
signed and dated 'Lee Krasner 1969' (lower right)
gouache on Howell paper
18 x 21 1⁄2 in. (45.7 x 54.6 cm.)
Executed in 1969.
Marlborough Gallery, New York
Robert Miller Gallery, New York
Pollock-Krasner Foundation, New York
Robert Miller Gallery, New York
Acquired from the above by the present owner, 2005
E.G. Landau, Lee Krasner: A Catalogue Raisonné, New York, 1995, pp. 252 and 254, no. CR 503 (illustrated).
Atlantic City and San Francisco, Gallery Reese Palley, Lee Krasner, Recent Gouaches, October-December 1969, no. 3.
Washington, D.C., Corcoran Gallery of Art and Waltham, Massachusetts, Brandeis University, Rose Art Museum, Lee Krasner: Collages and Works on Paper 1933-1974, January 1975-October 1975, p. 48, no. 93 (illustrated).
Brooklyn Museum, Lee Krasner: Works on Paper, December 1984-February 1985, no. 9.

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Lot Essay

The mesmerizing gestural qualities of Lee Krasner’s painting style are abundantly present and masterfully distilled in Earth No. 6, from 1969. Pulsing, vigorous dabs, streaks, and blots of paint play and quarrel across the picture plane. Dashes of rhythmic dark immediately engage the viewer, first directing the gaze around the image’s all-over composition, and then through to the sensuous ochres and whites underneath. Effortlessly at one with nature, Earth No. 6 recalls an encounter with the beauty of a single tree before becoming aware of the lush forest behind it. Lee Krasner’s Earth No. 6 comes from a vital time in the artist’s practice, during which she transformed her work in both scale and medium, moving from large oil on canvas to small gouaches on paper. Explaining this shift, Krasner said that “…every once in a while I feel the need to break my medium and if I am working in oil, I feel the need to change” (L. Krasner quoted in E. Landau, Lee Krasner: A Catalogue Raisonné, New York, 1995, p. 240).
Lee Krasner was included as the only female artist in MoMA’s The New American Painting and Sculpture: the First Generation, organized by William Rubin in 1969. This was also the year that Krasner exhibited Earth no. 6 at Marlborough gallery with its namesake series, Earths, along with three other series, Seeds, Waters, and Hieroglyphs. All 36 works on display from the series were painted with gouache on Howell paper. This unique handmade paper derives its name from its maker, the artist Douglas Morse Howell, and was prized by Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock for its high levels of absorbency and irregular texture. The Howell paper served as an experimental ground for both artists and enabled Lee Krasner’s recurrent engagement with change and variation, exemplified by her exploratory practice as well as the ingenuity and dynamism embodied in each one of her individual works.

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