Sunday, August 15, 2010

Pollock/ Krasner House

When you get sick of the shopping in Main St East Hampton or the weekend hordes on the beach, go and visit the former home and studio of artists Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner.

Situated in a relatively undeveloped area next to East Hampton called Springs, the Pollock Krasner House and Study Centre is now run by Stony Brook University and open to the public to admire and explore. Both the house and studio have been left exactly as they were when Pollock died in 1956. Krasner continued to live and work there until her death in 1984, when she then deeded the property to the Stony Brook Foundation.

In 1946, Pollock married fellow artist Lee Krasner and with the help of a $2000 loan from Peggy Guggenheim, they bought a little plot of land with a modest house and a barn overlooking Accabonac Creek.

At first they both worked in the house which in those days, looked like this.

Over time they did renovations, and after a particularly successful solo exhibition of Pollock's at the Betty Parsons Gallery in New York, they were able to add a porch, shingles, heating and plumbing. Today the house looks like this.

Pollock ended up moving the barn from behind the house to beside it and renovated it as his studio.

It is there that he created his masterpieces, including this one which is now hanging in the National Gallery of Canberra.

The most remarkable thing about the studio is the floor. When Stony Brook took over the property, they realized a false floor had been put down to "winterize" the space. Upon pulling this up, they found the original floorboards completely intact, covered in dripped paint from Pollock's later paintings including the orange paint used in Blue Poles above!

There is something quite wondrous about standing in the middle of a room where you know a great artist drank and smoked and painted and created. Even his paints, brushes and an old pair of shoes are still there. If you haven't seen the film "Pollock" from 2000 with Ed Harris and Marcia Gay Harden, you must. It is all filmed on the grounds of this exceptional gift to the public.

images: (1&10) the selvedge yard, (2) mine, (3) stony brook, (4-6) mine, (7) national gallery canberra, (8) new york times, (9) gordon m grant,

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