See biography by R. Hobbs (1999); study by B. Rose (1983); E. G. Landau, Lee Krasner: A Catalogue Raisonné (1995).
Krasner studied at The Cooper Union and the National Academy of Design and worked on the WPA Federal Art Project from 1935 to 1943. Starting in 1937, she took classes with Hans Hofmann, who taught the principles of cubism, and his influence helped to direct Krasner's work toward neo-cubist abstraction. When commenting on her work, Hofmann stated, "This is so good you would not know it was painted by a woman.
She would often cut apart her own drawings and paintings to create collages and sometimes revised or discarded whole series. As a result, her surviving body of work is relatively small. Her catalogue raisonné, published in 1995 by Abrams, lists only 599 known pieces. She was rigorously self-critical, and her critical eye is believed to have been important to Pollock's work.
Krasner struggled with the public's reception to her identity as both a woman and the wife of Pollock. In dealing with audiences, Krasner often signed her works with the genderless initials "L.K." instead of her more recognizable full name.
In addition to mutual admiration as artists, Krasner and Pollock gave each other assurance and support during a period when neither was understood. Like Picasso during the brief period of his interaction with Braque, the daily give and take of Pollock and Krasner fed both artists. Comrades in art, Pollock and Krasner fought the battle for legitimacy, impulsiveness and individual expression in a old-fashioned, conformist and repressed culture unreceptive to these values and put off by the intricacy and hassle of Modernism itself.
She died at age 75 in 1984.
Six months after her death, the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City held a retrospective of her work. In their review of the exhibition, the New York Times said that it "clearly defines Krasner's place in the New York School" and that she "is a major, independent artist of the pioneer Abstract Expressionist generation, whose stirring work ranks high among that produced here in the last half-century. As of 2008, Krasner is only one of four women artists to enjoy a retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York City. The other three women artists are Louise Bourgeois (MoMA retrospective in 1982), Helen Frankenthaler (MoMA retrospective in 1989) and Elizabeth Murray (MoMA retrospective in 2004)..
After her death, her East Hampton property became the Pollock-Krasner House and Studio, and is open to the public for tours. A separate organization, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, was established in 1985. The Foundation not only functions as the official Estate for both Lee Krasner and Jackson Pollock, but also, under the terms of her will, serves "to assist individual working artists of merit with financial need. The U.S. copyright representative for the Pollock-Krasner Foundation is the Artists Rights Society.
Krasner was portrayed in an Academy Award-winning performance by Marcia Gay Harden in the 2000 film Pollock, a drama about the life of her husband Jackson Pollock, directed by Ed Harris. In John Updike's novel Seek My Face (2002), a significant portion of the main character's life is based on Krasner's.