A new book is shedding light on the cooking prowess of the abstract impressionist painter Lee Krasner and her husband Jackson Pollock, considered one of the most important modern American painters.
“Dinner With Jackson Pollock: Recipes, Art & Nature” contains recipes written by Krasner, Pollock and his mother Stella, as well as photographs of each recipe, the couple’s home and Pollock’s works of art. It also includes stories about the couple.
The hardcover book was written by Robyn Lea, an Australian photographer based in New York, who became interested in Krasner and Pollock’s cooking while taking pictures in the museum that was once the couple’s home.
“I ended up in the pantry photographing their pots and pans, and that got me thinking: ‘I wonder what they ate? Were they cooks [or] did they not care?’ ” Lea told The Guardian.
She later found Pollock and Krasner’s handwritten recipes hidden in the back of their cookbooks, and was given permission by the Pollock family to publish them.
Among the notes were recipes for rye bread, apple pie, blintzes and Swedish meatballs. “They used a lot of ingredients that were purely available to them often without cost at all because they would find the ingredients themselves, ” said Lea.
Pollock, a creative force of nature known for dripping and splattering paint onto canvas, is shown in the book as drawing contentment from growing and making food.
In the book’s introduction, Francesca Pollock, the artist’s niece, said, “He painted the same way he cooked: Endlessly using leftovers; keeping and re-using; trying one color or shape and then another. There was never ever any waste. Painting, like cooking, was a way of living.”
The author also researched the couple by consulting with people who dined with the pair at their home, including a local artist who “was able to shed some light on the way Krasner would entertain: the very strategic way of ensuring the right people were at the table, how particular she was about the presentation of a dish and how it should look and what brand of ingredients you should use, ” Lea said.
“All these particular things, I think, reflect her desire to do things in an artistic way and also her quite controlling personality”, she added.
Krasner grew up in an Orthodox Jewish home, but later distanced herself from religion.