Her first stop in New York was the Hans Hofmann School of Art. His precepts and open-minded approach would guide her work from then on. An abandoned industrial loft served as her home and studio. In 1942, the war cast a pall on New York, but exhibitions enabled her to see work by exiled European painters that would have a major influence on her own work. Painter Leland Bell—whom she introduced to his future wife, painter Louisa Matthíasdóttir—convinced her to follow the austere style of Mondrian. Her marriage to a musician, Robert Bass, was an impulsive move that would end in divorce a few years later. In 1944, she became the youngest member of American Abstract Artists. While working at part-time jobs, she would paint all night and party with friends who shared her love for jazz; her painting Lester Leaps was a tribute to Lester Young.
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