Oil, paper, and canvas collage on canvas
82 3/8 x 57 3/4 inches (209.2 x 146.7 cm)
Gift of Seymour H. Knox, Jr., 1976
In the early 1950s, Lee Krasner, who was always extremely self-critical, began to destroy paintings that did not meet her high standards. As she cut them up, she decided to recycle some of the pieces in collages like Milkweed, which also incorporates paper fragments and oil paint. She chose titles for her images once they were complete, taking into consideration overall appearance and effect. The title Milkweed may have been selected for this work because the stem- and leaf-like shapes and the bright touches of orange are reminiscent of certain species of milkweed flowers and the orange-and-black monarch butterfly, which lays its eggs on the plant. Milkweed might also refer more generally to Krasner’s surroundings on Long Island, where she lived in a farmhouse with her husband, the painter Jackson Pollock, and felt connected to the landscape and nature’s unending cycle of life. This possible interpretation is supported by a statement Krasner made in 1973: “My painting is so autobiographical, if anyone can take the trouble to read it.”
Reproduction, including downloading, of Lee Krasner works is prohibited by copyright laws and international conventions without the express written permission of Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
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