Krasner responded to the tragedy
, and her mother’s subsequent death in 1959, through her art. Discussing her grief, she once said: “Painting is not separate from life. It is one. It is like asking—do I want to live? My answer is yes—and I paint.” In her series of “Umber” paintings, executed from 1959 through 1962, Krasner made violent, swirling strokes in somber brown tones. The canvases are a beautiful evocation of darkness and mourning.
Krasner made her strongest paintings throughout the 1960s. “While Pollock lived, Krasner could not afford to float away into outer space because she, like her mother before her, took on the responsibility of dealing with the practical matters of daily life,” Rose wrote. The artist was simultaneously weighted and freed by her husband’s death.
Her tight symbols and busy compositions unwound into languid shapes with more breathing room. She rounded out her gestures, giving her work legibly feminine undertones. One of her most famous paintings, Gaea (1966), features a series of pink-and-white shapes that resemble eyes, breasts, eggs, and mouths, all set against a purple background.