Lee Krasner

White Squares
c. 1948

Not on view

Date
c. 1948

Classification
Paintings

Medium
Enamel and oil on canvas

Dimensions
Overall: 24 1/16 × 30 1/8in. (61.1 × 76.5 cm)

Accession number
75.1

Credit line
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. B. H. Friedman

Rights and reproductions
© The Pollock-Krasner Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

From 1946 to 1949, Lee Krasner made a series of small-scale works she called the Little Image paintings, in which she sought “a merging of the organic with the abstract.” She described some of these paintings, including White Squares, as “hieroglyphic.” Krasner was fascinated by ancient languages. Raised as an Orthodox Jew, she learned to copy (though not to read) Hebrew letters, which fostered a lifelong interest in the abstract character of writing dissociated from meaning, and ultimately led to the marks of her “hieroglyphic” works. White Squares is covered in a dense, white lattice of open squares, with an evenness that recalls a page of text. Yet the traces of yellow, blue, and green visible beneath the black ground give the painting a sense of depth. The concentric rectilinear forms may evoke another of Krasner’s fascinations, foraminifera—spirally arranged marine organisms. Indeed, Krasner had a collection of crystals, shells, and foraminifera, which perhaps explains why the painting was originally titled by a friend (and inscribed on the stretcher) “Passion for Collecting.”



Lee Krasner
10 works

View artist

Images and Permissions

Sunrise

Sunset

A 30-second online art project:
Kristin Lucas, Speculative Habitat for Sponsored Seabirds

Learn more

The Whitney is closed temporarily. Read more.