Author Robyn Lea Shares The Story Behind Her New Book: Dinner With Jackson Pollock



Robyn Lea_Lucia Wilcox's Beach Picnic which Pollock would enjoy on the beach with Roger Wilcox


Jackson Pollock the artist needs no introduction—but perhaps lesser known is Jackson Pollock the gardener, baker, and entertaining dinner-party host.  From starters and entrees to side dishes, breads, and desserts, Dinner with Jackson Pollock features more than 50 recipes collected from handwritten pages scrawled by Jackson; his wife, artist Lee Krasner; his mother, Stella; or traded among their many friends in the town of Springs on Long Island, interspersed with Jackson’s masterworks, still lifes of the Pollock-Krasner home, and beautiful photographs of each delectable recipe, plus delightful tales from Jackson and Lee’s family and local friends, for a truly unique and insightful portrait of a great American artist.  KDHamptons talks to the author Robyn Lea about what inspired her beautiful new book. 


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KDHamptons: How long have you been visiting the Hamptons and what do you love most about the east end?

Robyn Lea: I love to visit the Hamptons as often as possible, and my ‘home-away-from-home’ here is the 1770 House – the perfect mix of luxury suites and friendly service.  I am Australian and moved to New York with my husband and two children just over four years ago.  I was immediately drawn to the diverse natural beauty of the Hamptons, and the unique mix of culture, art, food and the sea. This summer we have rented a house in Sag Harbor and look forward to many sunny days and many great meals.


11 © Courtesy Pollock‑Krasner House and Study Center, East Hampton, NY_Pollock and Krasner with Jackson's mother Stella

Pollock with his mother Stella, and wife Lee. 


Robyn LeaPollock and Krasner’s kitchen


Jackson Pollock


KDHamptons: What inspired you to write this book?

Robyn Lea: I found evidence in Pollock and Krasner’s pantry that they were foodies – such as their collection of Le Creuset pots and the Eva Zeisel tableware, and I began to wonder about their dinner parties and what was served, who was there etc.  Then after enquiring about the subject with Helen Harrison, and subsequently seeing the hand written recipes of the couple I felt that these dishes might help me see another side of these famous artists.  But before I committed to the task I wanted to know they were delicious, so I cooked them up and tried them out on my friends and family.  I was so inspired by the flavors and stories behind each recipe that I was driven to find out more. Hence the beginning of a fascinating research journey into the lives of Pollock, Krasner, and their friends and family. From there I worked with many great Hamptonites such as props stylist Michelle James, Chef Rozzi from 1770 House, Chef Jackie McKay and James ‘Ford’ Huniford who opened his Bridgehampton home to us for a week of shooting the recipes.  In all, it was a local effort, using great local produce, and great fun!


8 © Robyn Lea_Blueberry Blintzes


9 © Robyn Lea_Jackson's Prize Winning Apple Pie


KDHamptons: What does a perfect Hamptons day look like for you? 

Robyn Lea: A walk on the beach at dawn, followed by a great coffee at the bar at Sant Ambroeus in Southampton.  Then off to see an exhibition at Parrish Museum, or the latest work at Tripoli Gallery.  By late morning I am already thinking about dinner, and if I am in the Hamptons for work I always dine downstairs at 1770 House in East Hampton, otherwise when I am on vacation I love to eat also at Tutto Il Giorno in Sag Harbor or Southampton.  I love shopping in the afternoons and try and always try to visit Todd Hase Furniture as I adore his mix of traditional French furniture and his own museum-quality contemporary furniture designs.  The store is found off the beaten track on North Sea Road in Southampton.



Parrish Art Museum (above) and the 1770 House (below)



KDHamptons: Did you discover any little secrets about Pollock’s life in the Hamptons that you can share?
Robyn Lea: In writing and shooting my new book I loved to retrace Pollock’s footsteps and photograph the landscapes and seascapes that were his favorites. The rocky beach near the lighthouse in Montauk was one of them and it is evocative and other-worldly, particularly in early morning. Pack Lucia Wilcox’s beach picnic (recipes are in the book) and head there sometime to get a feel for the natural beauty that inspired Pollock, while enjoying Syrian cuisine!


Author Photographer Robyn Lea on location



5 © Robyn Lea_Jackson's Famous Spaghetti Sauce


KDHamptons: How can we purchase the book?

Robyn Lea:  The book is widely distributed, and can be purchased at The 1770 House, or ordered via Assouline HERE .  Also, be sure to visit the Pollock-Krasner House and Studio in Springs in the town of East Hampton at 830 Springs Fireplace Road.


1 © Robyn Lea_Jackson Pollock's studioJackson Pollock’s Hamptons studio


2 © Robyn Lea_Paint Pigments Saved from the WPA projects_Pollock-Krasner