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Set amid the most turbulent social and political period of modern times, Ninth Street Women is the impassioned, wild, sometimes tragic, always exhilarating chronicle of five women who dared to enter the male-dominated world of twentieth-century abstract painting—not as muses but as artists. From their cold-water lofts, where they worked, drank, fought, and loved, these pioneers burst open the door to the art world for themselves and countless others to come.


Lee Krasner 

Gutsy and indomitable, Lee Krasner was a hell-raising leader among artists long before she became part of the modern art world’s first celebrity couple by marrying Jackson Pollock.

Lee Krasner, ca 1949. Harry Bowden, photographer. Harry Bowden Papers, Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. Artwork copyright 2018 the Pollock-Krasner Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York 


Elaine de Kooning

Elaine de Kooning, whose brilliant mind and peerless charm made her the emotional center of the New York School, used her work and words to build a bridge between the avant-garde and a public that scorned abstract art as a hoax.

Willem de Kooning and Elaine de Kooning, 1944. Ibram Lassaw, photographer. Copyright Ibram Lassaw, Ibram Lassaw Estate


Grace Hartigan 

Grace Hartigan fearlessly abandoned life as a New Jersey housewife and mother to achieve stardom as one of the boldest painters of her generation.

Grace Hartigan sketching, ca 1952. Walter Silver, photographer. Grace Hartigan Papers, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Libraries, Syracuse, New York


Joan Mitchell

Joan Mitchell, whose notoriously tough exterior shielded a vulnerable artist within, escaped a privileged but emotionally damaging Chicago childhood to translate her fierce vision into magnificent canvases.

Joan Mitchell, ca 1952. Walter Silver, photographer. The Walter Silver Collection. Copyright Photography Collection, Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs, the New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations


Helen Frankenthaler

Helen Frankenthaler, the beautiful daughter of a prominent New York family, chose the difficult path of the creative life. Her gamble paid off: At twenty-three she created a work so original it launched a new school of painting.

Helen Frankenthaler in front of Mountains and Sea (1952) at her West End Avenue apartment 1956. Walter Silver, photographer. Helen Frankenthaler Papers, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation Archives. Courtesy Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, New York. Artwork copyright 2018 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

These women changed American art and society, tearing up the prevailing social code and replacing it with a doctrine of liberation. In Ninth Street Women, acclaimed author Mary Gabriel tells a remarkable and inspiring story of the power of art and artists in shaping not just postwar America but the future.


© Copyright 2018 Mary Gabriel- All Rights Reserved