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Art springs eternal

by Kathy Werner
Posted 6/30/23

Luckily for me, the journeys continue!   Last week I was again fortunate enough to travel with my daughter Liz, son-in-law Peter, and granddaughter Adeline.   This time, no airplanes were …

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Art springs eternal


Luckily for me, the journeys continue!  Last week I was again fortunate enough to travel with my daughter Liz, son-in-law Peter, and granddaughter Adeline.  This time, no airplanes were required as we drove out to Springs, Long Island, to spend a week at a rented home. Thankfully, the house had a heated pool, which was the only way anyone was going to swim last week.  Brrr, this June has been cold and wet in upstate New York!

The hamlet of Springs is in East Hampton and is best known as an artists’ colony, since post-war abstract impressionists (and spouses) Jackson Pollock and Lee Krasner had a home there, as did Willem deKooning. The Pollock-Krasner home and studio on 830 Springs--Fireplace Road is now a museum managed by Stony Brook University.  Krasner’s will stipulated that their Springs property could be given to a non-profit if they agreed to manage it according to her wishes. From the street, theirs is an unimpressive group of buildings—a small farmhouse with several outbuildings. But one step inside reveals the very remarkable lives they lived. 

In the house, which looks as it did when Krasner died, the walls are lined with books and artwork, including a piece by Mark Rothko, another by Thomas Hart Benton, and some of their own. Pollock’s studio was out in the barn while Krasner painted in a small bedroom upstairs. 

In 1953, Pollock winterized the barn and put Masonite tiles down on the floor.

During the process of turning the property into a museum, on a hunch from the museum’s first director Meg Perlman, the new floor was ripped up and the remnants of Pollock’s work on his drip paintings was found underneath. Today, visitors must take off their shoes and put on foam slippers to walk onto this shrine to abstract impressionism. 

Incidentally, the docent in the barn told us that Pollock occasionally gave away paintings to local friends, who sometimes threw them away. Some of his works today have fetched between $61-200 million in auction. 

Sadly, Pollock was an alcoholic and died in a car crash on Springs-Fireplace Road at the age of 44 in 1956.  Krasner continued to create until she died in 1984. Her works now sell for millions of dollars.

It was fascinating to see and walk through the rooms where Lee and Jackson loved, fought, and created. These artistic titans lived their extraordinary lives behind the deceptively bland walls of a farmhouse in Springs.


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