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Paul Jackson Pollock (January 28, 1912 – August 11, 1956) was an American painter and a major figure in the
abstract expressionist Abstract expressionism is a post–World War II art movement in American painting, developed in New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the ...
movement. He was widely noticed for his " drip technique" of pouring or splashing liquid household paint onto a horizontal surface, enabling him to view and paint his canvases from all angles. It was also called
all-over paintingAll-over painting refers to the non-differential treatment of the surface of a work of two-dimensional art, for instance a painting. This concept is most popularly thought of as emerging in relation to the so-called "drip" paintings of Jackson Pollo ...
and
action paintingAction painting, sometimes called "gestural abstraction", is a style of painting in which paint is spontaneously dribbled, splashed or smeared onto the canvas, rather than being carefully applied. The resulting work often emphasizes the physical act ...

action painting
, since he covered the entire canvas and used the force of his whole body to paint, often in a frenetic dancing style. This extreme form of abstraction divided the critics: some praised the immediacy of the creation, while others derided the random effects. In 2016, Pollock's painting titled ''
Number 17A ''Number 17A'' is an abstract expressionist Abstract expressionism is a post–World War II art movement in American painting, developed in New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States ...
'' was reported to have fetched US$200 million in a private purchase. A reclusive and volatile personality, Pollock struggled with alcoholism for most of his life. In 1945, he married the artist
Lee Krasner Lenore "Lee" Krasner (born Lena Krassner on October 27, 1908 – June 19, 1984) was an American abstract expressionist painter, with a strong speciality in collage, who was married to Jackson Pollock Paul Jackson Pollock (January 28, 1912&n ...
, who became an important influence on his career and on his legacy. Pollock died at the age of 44 in an alcohol-related single-car accident when he was driving. In December 1956, four months after his death, Pollock was given a memorial
retrospective A retrospective (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...

retrospective
exhibition at the
Museum of Modern Art The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is an art museum located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, on 53rd Street (Manhattan), 53rd Street between Fifth Avenue, Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It plays a major role in developing and collecting modern art, ...
(MoMA) in New York City. A larger, more comprehensive exhibition of his work was held there in 1967. In 1998 and 1999, his work was honored with large-scale retrospective exhibitions at MoMA and at The
Tate Tate is an institution that houses, in a network of four art galleries, the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain,Usage is mixed. The Guardian' ...

Tate
in London.Horsley, Carter B., ''Mud Pies, Jackson Pollock, Museum of Modern Art, November 1, 1998 to February 2, 1999, The Tate Gallery, London, March 11 to June 6, 1999''
"While it is de rigueur to concentrate on the signature works that define an artist's 'style', it is very important to understand its evolution..."
/ref>


Early life (1912–1936)

Paul Jackson Pollock was born in
Cody, Wyoming Cody is a city in Northwest Wyoming and the county seat of Park County, Wyoming, Park County, Wyoming, United States. It is named after Colonel William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody for his part in the founding of Cody in 1896. The population wa ...

Cody, Wyoming
, in 1912, the youngest of five sons. His parents, Stella May (née McClure) and LeRoy Pollock, were born and grew up in Tingley, Iowa, and were educated at Tingley High School. Pollock's mother is interred at Tingley Cemetery, Ringgold County, Iowa. His father had been born with the surname McCoy, but took the surname of his adoptive parents, neighbors who adopted him after his own parents had died within a year of each other. Stella and LeRoy Pollock were
Presbyterian Presbyterianism is a part of the Reformed tradition Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of ...
; they were of
Irish Irish most commonly refers to: * Someone or something of, from, or related to: ** Ireland, an island situated off the north-western coast of continental Europe ** Northern Ireland, a constituent unit of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and North ...
and
Scots-Irish Scotch-Irish or Scots-Irish may refer to: * Ulster Scots people, an ethnic group in Ulster, Ireland, who trace their roots to settlers from Scotland * Scotch-Irish Americans, descendants of Ulster Scots who first migrated to America in large number ...
descent, respectively. LeRoy Pollock was a farmer and later a land surveyor for the government, moving for different jobs. Stella, proud of her family's heritage as weavers, made and sold dresses as a teenager. In November 1912, Stella took her sons to San Diego; Jackson was just 10 months old and would never return to Cody. He subsequently grew up in
Arizona Arizona ( ; nv, Hoozdo Hahoodzo ; ood, Alĭ ṣonak) is a U.S. state, state in the Southwestern United States, Southwestern region of the United States. It is also usually considered part of the Mountain States, Mountain states. It is th ...

Arizona
and
Chico, California Chico ( ; Spanish language, Spanish for "little") is the most populous city in Butte County, California, Butte County, California, United States. As of the 2020 United States Census, the population was 101,475, reflecting an increase of 15,288 f ...
. While living in the Vermont Square neighborhood of Los Angeles, he enrolled at
Manual Arts High School Manual Arts High School is a secondary public school in Los Angeles, California Los Angeles (; es, Los Ángeles; "The Angels"), officially the City of Los Angeles and often abbreviated as L.A., is the largest city in California Ca ...
, from which he was expelled. He had already been expelled in 1928 from another high school. During his early life, Pollock explored
Native American Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Americans in the United States * Indigenous peoples in Canada, the indigenous p ...
culture while on surveying trips with his father. He was also heavily influenced by
Mexican muralists Mexican muralism was the promotion of mural painting starting in the 1920s, generally with social and political messages as part of efforts to reunify the country under the post-Mexican Revolution government. It was headed by "the big three" painte ...
, particularly
José Clemente Orozco José Clemente Orozco (November 23, 1883 – September 7, 1949) was a Mexican caricaturist and painting, painter, who specialized in political murals that established the Mexican Muralism, Mexican Mural Renaissance together with murals by Diego ...

José Clemente Orozco
, whose fresco ''
Prometheus In Greek mythology Greek mythology is the body of myth Myth is a folklore genre Folklore is the expressive body of culture shared by a particular group of people; it encompasses the tradition A tradition is a belief A be ...
'' he would later call "the greatest painting in North America". In 1930, following his older brother Charles Pollock, he moved to New York City, where they both studied under Thomas Hart Benton at the
Art Students League The Art Students League of New York is an art school 's Waterman Building, Providence, Rhode Island, Providence, RI. An art school is an educational institution with a primary focus on the visual arts, including fine art – especially illustra ...

Art Students League
. Benton's rural American subject matter had little influence on Pollock's work, but his rhythmic use of paint and his fierce independence were more lasting. In the early 1930s, Pollock spent a summer touring the Western United States together with Glen Rounds, a fellow art student, and Benton, their teacher.


Career (1936–1954)

Pollock was introduced to the use of liquid paint in 1936 at an experimental workshop in New York City by the Mexican muralist
David Alfaro Siqueiros David Alfaro Siqueiros (born José de Jesús Alfaro Siqueiros; December 29, 1896 in ChihuahuaChihuahua may refer to: Places *Chihuahua (state), a Mexican state **Chihuahua (dog), a breed of dog named after the state **Chihuahua cheese, a type of ...

David Alfaro Siqueiros
. He later used paint pouring as one of several techniques on canvases of the early 1940s, such as ''Male and Female'' and ''Composition with Pouring I''. After his move to
Springs, New York Springs is a census-designated place A census-designated place (CDP) is a Place (United States Census Bureau), concentration of population defined by the United States Census Bureau for statistical purposes only. CDPs have been used in each decenni ...
, he began painting with his canvases laid out on the studio floor and he developed what was later called his " drip" technique. From 1938 to 1942 Pollock worked for the WPA
Federal Art Project The Federal Art Project (1935–1943) was a New Deal The New Deal was a series of programs, public work projects, financial reforms, and regulations Regulation is the management of complex systems according to a set of rules and trends. In ...
. During this time Pollock was trying to deal with his established alcoholism; from 1938 through 1941 he underwent Jungian psychotherapy with Dr. Joseph L. Henderson and later with Dr. Violet Staub de Laszlo in 1941–42. Henderson engaged him through his art, encouraging Pollock to make drawings. Jungian concepts and archetypes were expressed in his paintings. Some historians have hypothesized that Pollock might have had
bipolar disorder Bipolar disorder, previously known as manic depression, is a mental disorder A mental disorder, also called a mental illness or psychiatric disorder, is a behavioral or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of ...

bipolar disorder
. Pollock signed a gallery contract with
Peggy Guggenheim Marguerite "Peggy" Guggenheim ( ; August 26, 1898 – December 23, 1979) was an American art collector, bohemian and socialite. Born to the wealthy New York City Guggenheim family, she was the daughter of Benjamin Guggenheim, who went down with the ...
in July 1943. He received the commission to create the ''
Mural A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other permanent substrate, usually a vertical one, that is to say a wall. Historically, they are especially associated with the fresco Fresco (plural ''fresc ...
'' (1943) for the entry to her new townhouse. At the suggestion of her friend and advisor
Marcel Duchamp Henri-Robert-Marcel Duchamp (; ; 28 July 1887 – 2 October 1968) was a French Americans, French-American painter, sculptor, chess player, and writer whose work is associated with Cubism, Dada, and conceptual art. Duchamp is commonly regarded, a ...

Marcel Duchamp
, Pollock painted the work on canvas, rather than the wall, so that it would be portable. After seeing the big mural, the art critic
Clement Greenberg Clement Greenberg () (January 16, 1909 – May 7, 1994), occasionally writing under the pseudonym K. Hardesh, was an American essayist known mainly as a very influential visual art critic closely associated with American Modern art Modern art ...
wrote: "I took one look at it and I thought, 'Now that's great art,' and I knew Jackson was the greatest painter this country had produced." The catalog introducing his first exhibition described Pollock's talent as "volcanic. It has fire. It is unpredictable. It is undisciplined. It spills out of itself in a mineral prodigality, not yet crystallized."


Drip period

Pollock's most famous paintings were made during the "drip period" between 1947 and 1950. He became famous following an August 8, 1949, four-page spread in ''
Life Life is a characteristic that distinguishes physical entities A bubble of exhaled gas in water In common usage and classical mechanics, a physical object or physical body (or simply an object or body) is a collection of matter within a ...
'' magazine that asked, "Is he the greatest living painter in the United States?" Thanks to the mediation of Alfonso Ossorio, a close friend of Pollock and the art historian
Michel Tapié Michel Tapié (full name: Michel Tapié de Céleyran; 26 February 1909 – 30 July 1987) was a France, French art Art critic, critic, curator, and art collector, collector. He was an early and influential Art theory, theorist and practitioner of "ta ...
, the young gallery owner , from March 7, 1952, managed to realize the first exhibition of Pollock's works from 1948 to 1951 in his Studio Paul Facchetti in Paris and in Europe. At the peak of his fame, Pollock abruptly abandoned the drip style. Pollock's work after 1951 was darker in color, including a collection painted in black on unprimed
canvas Canvas is an extremely durable plain-woven fabric A textile is a flexible material made by creating an interlocking bundle of yarn Yarn is a long continuous length of interlocked fibre Fiber or fibre (from la, fibra, links=no ...

canvas
es. These paintings have been referred to as his "Black pourings" and when he exhibited them at the Betty Parsons Gallery in New York, none of them sold. Parsons later sold one to a friend at half the price. These works show Pollock attempting to find a balance between abstraction and depictions of the figure. He later returned to using color and continued with figurative elements. During this period, Pollock had moved to the Sidney Janis Gallery, a more commercial gallery; the demand for his work from collectors was great. In response to this pressure, along with personal frustration, his alcoholism deepened.


Relationship with Lee Krasner

The two artists met while they both exhibited at the McMillen Gallery in 1942. Krasner was unfamiliar, yet intrigued with Pollock's work and went to his apartment, unannounced, to meet him following the gallery exhibition. In October 1945, Pollock and
Lee Krasner Lenore "Lee" Krasner (born Lena Krassner on October 27, 1908 – June 19, 1984) was an American abstract expressionist painter, with a strong speciality in collage, who was married to Jackson Pollock Paul Jackson Pollock (January 28, 1912&n ...
were married in a church with two witnesses present for the event. In November, they moved out of the city to the
Springs Spring(s) may refer to: Common uses * Spring (season), a season of the year * Spring (device), a mechanical device that stores energy * Spring (hydrology), a natural source of water * Spring (mathematics), a geometric surface in the shape of a heli ...
area of East Hampton on the south shore of
Long Island Long Island is a densely populated island in the southeast part of the U.S. state In the , a state is a , of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a , each state holds al jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic ...
. With the help of a down-payment loan from Peggy Guggenheim, they bought a wood-frame house and barn at 830 Springs Fireplace Road. Pollock converted the barn into a studio. In that space, he perfected his big "drip" technique of working with paint, with which he would become permanently identified. When the couple found themselves free from work they enjoyed spending their time together cooking and baking, working on the house and garden, and entertaining friends. Krasner's influence on her husband's art was something critics began to reassess by the latter half of the 1960s due to the rise of feminism at the time. Krasner's extensive knowledge and training in modern art and techniques helped her bring Pollock up to date with what contemporary art should be. Krasner is often considered to have taught her husband in the dominant tenets of modernistic painting.Rose, Barbara. "Krasner, Pollock: A Working Relationship". New York: Grey Art Gallery and Study Center, 1981. pg. 6 Pollock was then able to change his style to fit a more organized and cosmopolitan genre of modern art, and Krasner became the one judge he could trust.Berger, John. "Portraits: John Berger on Artists". London: Verso, 2015. pg. 369 At the beginning of the two artists' marriage, Pollock would trust his counterpart's opinions on what did or did not work in his pieces. Krasner was also responsible for introducing him to many collectors, critics, and artists, including
Herbert Matter Herbert Matter (April 25, 1907 – May 8, 1984) was a Swiss-born American photographer and graphic designer known for his pioneering use of photomontage in commercial art. The designer's innovative and experimental work helped shape the vocabulary o ...
, who would help further his career as an emerging artist. Art dealer
John Bernard Myers John is a common English name and surname: * John (given name) * John (surname), including a list of people who have the name John John may also refer to: New Testament Works *Johannine literature ** Gospel of John, a title often shortened to ...
once said "there would never have been a Jackson Pollock without a Lee Pollock", whereas fellow painter Fritz Bultman referred to Pollock as Krasner's "creation, her Frankenstein", both men recognizing the immense impact Krasner had on Pollock's career. Jackson Pollock's influence on his wife's artwork is often discussed by art historians. Many people thought that Krasner began to reproduce and reinterpret her husband's chaotic paint splatters in her own work. There are several accounts where Krasner intended to use her own intuition, as a way to move towards Pollock's "I am nature" technique in order to reproduce nature in her art.


Later years and death (1955–1956)

In 1955, Pollock painted ''Scent'' and ''Search'', his last two paintings. He did not paint at all in 1956, but was making sculptures at Tony Smith's home: constructions of wire, gauze, and plaster. Shaped by sand-casting, they have heavily textured surfaces similar to what Pollock often created in his paintings. Pollock and Krasner's relationship began to crumble by 1956, owing to Pollock's continuing alcoholism and infidelity involving Ruth Kligman.Rose, Barbara. Lee Krasner: A Retrospective. New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1983. pg. 95 On August 11, 1956, at 10:15 p.m., Pollock died in a single-car crash in his
Oldsmobile Oldsmobile was a brand of American automobiles produced for most of its existence by General Motors. Originally established as "Olds Motor Vehicle Company" by Ransom E. Olds in 1897, it produced over 35 million vehicles, including at least 14 mil ...

Oldsmobile
convertible while driving under the influence of alcohol. At the time Krasner was visiting friends in Europe and she abruptly returned on hearing the news from a friend. One of the passengers, Edith Metzger, was also killed in the accident, which occurred less than a mile from Pollock's home. The other passenger, Ruth Kligman, an artist and Pollock's mistress, survived. In December 1956, four months after his death, Pollock was given a memorial
retrospective A retrospective (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...

retrospective
exhibition at the
Museum of Modern Art The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is an art museum located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, on 53rd Street (Manhattan), 53rd Street between Fifth Avenue, Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It plays a major role in developing and collecting modern art, ...
(MoMA) in New York City. A larger, more comprehensive exhibition of his work was held there in 1967. In 1998 and 1999, his work was honored with large-scale retrospective exhibitions at MoMA and at in London. For the rest of her life, his widow Lee Krasner managed his estate and ensured that Pollock's reputation remained strong despite changing art world trends. The couple are buried in
Green River Cemetery 300px, Jackson Pollock has a large headstone, while his wife Lee Krasner has the smaller stone at Green River Cemetery Green River Cemetery is a cemetery in the hamlet of Springs, New York within the East Hampton (town), New York, Town of East Ha ...
in Springs with a large boulder marking his grave and a smaller one marking hers.


Artistry


Influence and technique

The work of Thomas Hart Benton,
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Pablo Picasso
and
Joan Miró Joan Miró i Ferrà ( , , ; 20 April 1893 – 25 December 1983) was a Spaniards, Spanish painter, sculptor, and ceramicist born in Barcelona. A museum dedicated to his work, the Fundació Joan Miró, was established in his native city of ...
influenced Pollock. Pollock started using synthetic resin-based paints called
alkyd An alkyd is a polyester Polyester is a category of polymers that contain the ester functional group in every repeat unit of their main chain. As a specific material, it most commonly refers to a type called polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Po ...
enamels, which at that time was a novel medium. Pollock described this use of household paints, instead of artist's paints, as "a natural growth out of a need". He used hardened brushes, sticks, and even basting syringes as paint applicators. Pollock's technique of pouring and dripping paint is thought to be one of the origins of the term
action paintingAction painting, sometimes called "gestural abstraction", is a style of painting in which paint is spontaneously dribbled, splashed or smeared onto the canvas, rather than being carefully applied. The resulting work often emphasizes the physical act ...

action painting
. With this technique, Pollock was able to achieve a more immediate means of creating art, the paint now literally flowing from his chosen tool onto the canvas. By defying the convention of painting on an upright surface, he added a new dimension by being able to view and apply paint to his canvases from all directions. One definitive influence on Pollock was the work of the
Ukrainian American Ukrainian Americans ( uk, Українські американці, translit=Ukrayins'ki amerykantsi) are Americans Americans are the Citizenship of the United States, citizens and United States nationality law, nationals of the United Stat ...
artist Janet Sobel (1894–1968) (born Jennie Lechovsky). Peggy Guggenheim included Sobel's work in her '' The Art of This Century Gallery'' in 1945. Jackson Pollock and art critic
Clement Greenberg Clement Greenberg () (January 16, 1909 – May 7, 1994), occasionally writing under the pseudonym K. Hardesh, was an American essayist known mainly as a very influential visual art critic closely associated with American Modern art Modern art ...
saw Sobel's work there in 1946 and later Greenberg noted that Sobel was "a direct influence on Jackson Pollock's drip painting technique". In his essay "American-Type Painting", Greenberg noted those works were the first of
all-over paintingAll-over painting refers to the non-differential treatment of the surface of a work of two-dimensional art, for instance a painting. This concept is most popularly thought of as emerging in relation to the so-called "drip" paintings of Jackson Pollo ...
he had seen, and said, "Pollock admitted that these pictures had made an impression on him". While painting this way, Pollock moved away from figurative representation, and challenged the Western tradition of using easel and brush. He used the force of his whole body to paint, which was expressed on the large canvases. In 1956, ''
Time Time is the continued sequence of existence and event (philosophy), events that occurs in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the future. It is a component quantity of various me ...
'' magazine dubbed Pollock "Jack the Dripper" due to his painting style. Pollock observed
Native American Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Americans in the United States * Indigenous peoples in Canada, the indigenous p ...
sandpainting Sandpainting is the art of pouring coloured sands, and powdered pigments from minerals or crystals, or pigments from other natural or synthetic sources onto a surface to make a fixed or unfixed sand painting. Unfixed sand paintings have a long es ...
demonstrations in the 1940s. Referring to his style of painting on the floor, Pollock stated, "I feel nearer, more a part of the painting, since this way I can walk round it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting. This is akin to the methods of the Indian sand painters of the West." Other influences on his drip technique include the Mexican
mural A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other permanent substrate, usually a vertical one, that is to say a wall. Historically, they are especially associated with the fresco Fresco (plural ''fresc ...

mural
ists and
Surrealist Surrealism was a cultural movement A cultural movement is a change in the way a number of different disciplines approach their work. This embodies all art forms, the science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") i ...
automatism. Pollock denied reliance on "the accident"; he usually had an idea of how he wanted a particular work to appear. His technique combined the movement of his body, over which he had control, the viscous flow of paint, the force of gravity, and the absorption of paint into the canvas. It was a mixture of controllable and uncontrollable factors. Flinging, dripping, pouring, and spattering, he would move energetically around the canvas, almost as if in a dance, and would not stop until he saw what he wanted to see. Austrian artist
Wolfgang Paalen Wolfgang Robert Paalen (July 22, 1905 in Vienna Vienna ( ; german: Wien ; bar, Wean, label=Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian ) is the Capital city, national capital, largest city, and one of States of Austria, nine states of Austria. Vienna i ...
's article on totem art of the indigenous people of British Columbia, in which the concept of space in totemist art is considered from an artist's point of view, influenced Pollock as well; Pollock owned a signed and dedicated copy of the Amerindian Number of Paalen's magazine (DYN 4–5, 1943). He had also seen Paalen's surrealist paintings in an exhibition of in 1940. Another strong influence must have been Paalen's surrealist ''
fumage Fumage is a surrealist art technique popularized by Wolfgang Paalen Wolfgang Robert Paalen (July 22, 1905 in Vienna Vienna ( ; german: Wien ; bar, Wean, label=Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian ) is the Capital city, national capital, larg ...
'' technique, which appealed to painters looking for new ways to depict what was called the "unseen" or the "possible". The technique was once demonstrated in Matta's workshop, about which Steven Naifeh reports, "Once, when Matta was demonstrating the Surrealist technique aalen'sFumage, Jackson ollockturned to (Peter) Busa and said in a stage whisper: 'I can do that without the smoke. Pollock's painter friend Fritz Bultman even stated, "It was Wolfgang Paalen who started it all." In 1950,
Hans Namuth Hans Namuth (March 17, 1915 – October 13, 1990) was a German-born photographer. Namuth specialized in portraiture A portrait is a painting Painting is the practice of applying paint, pigment, color or other medium to a solid surface ...
, a young photographer, wanted to take pictures—both stills and moving—of Pollock at work. Pollock promised to start a new painting especially for the photographic session, but when Namuth arrived, Pollock apologized and told him the painting was finished. Namuth said that when he entered the studio:


From naming to numbering

Continuing to evade the viewer's search for figurative elements in his paintings, Pollock abandoned titles and started numbering his works. He said about this, " ok passively and try to receive what the painting has to offer and not bring a subject matter or preconceived idea of what they are to be looking for." His wife said, "He used to give his pictures conventional titles ... but now he simply numbers them. Numbers are neutral. They make people look at a picture for what it is—pure painting."


Critical debate

Pollock's work has been the subject of important critical debates. Critic Robert Coates once derided a number of Pollock's works as "mere unorganized explosions of random energy, and therefore meaningless". ''
Reynold's News ''Reynold's News'' was a Sunday newspaper A newspaper is a Periodical literature, periodical publication containing written News, information about current events and is often typed in black ink with a white or gray background. Newspapers ...
'', in a 1959 headline, said, "This is not art—it's a joke in bad taste." French abstract painter
Jean Hélion Jean Hélion (April 21, 1904October 27, 1987) was a France, French painter whose Abstract art, abstract work of the 1930s established him as a leading modern art, modernist. His midcareer rejection of abstraction was followed by nearly five decades ...
, on the other hand, remarked on first seeing a Pollock, "It filled out space going on and on because it did not have a start or end to it."
Clement Greenberg Clement Greenberg () (January 16, 1909 – May 7, 1994), occasionally writing under the pseudonym K. Hardesh, was an American essayist known mainly as a very influential visual art critic closely associated with American Modern art Modern art ...
supported Pollock's work on formalistic grounds. It fit well with Greenberg's view of art history as a progressive purification in form and elimination of historical content. He considered Pollock's work to be the best painting of its day and the culmination of the Western tradition via
Cubism Cubism is an early-20th-century avant-garde The avant-garde (; In 'advance guard' or 'vanguard', literally 'fore-guard') are people or works that are experimental, Wikt:radical#Adjective, radical, or unorthodox with respect to The arts, art ...
and Cézanne to Manet. In a 1952 article in ''ARTnews'',
Harold Rosenberg Harold Rosenberg (1906–1978) was an American writer, educator, philosopher and art critic An art critic is a person who is specialized in analyzing, interpreting, and evaluating art. Their written critiques or reviews contribute to art criticism ...
coined the term "
action paintingAction painting, sometimes called "gestural abstraction", is a style of painting in which paint is spontaneously dribbled, splashed or smeared onto the canvas, rather than being carefully applied. The resulting work often emphasizes the physical act ...

action painting
" and wrote that "what was to go on the canvas was not a picture but an event. The big moment came when it was decided to paint 'just to paint'. The gesture on the canvas was a gesture of liberation from value—political, aesthetic, moral." Many people assumed that he had modeled his "action painter" paradigm on Pollock. The
Congress for Cultural Freedom The Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF) was an anti-communist advocacy group founded in 1950. At its height, the CCF was active in thirty-five countries. In 1966 it was revealed that the CIA was instrumental in the establishment and funding of the ...
, an organization to promote American culture and values, backed by the
Central Intelligence Agency The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA; ), known informally as the Agency and the Company, is a civilian foreign intelligence service of the federal government of the United States The federal government of the United States (U.S. fed ...
(CIA), sponsored exhibitions of Pollock's work. Some left-wing scholars, including Eva Cockcroft, have argued that the United States government and wealthy elite embraced Pollock and abstract expressionism to place the United States in the forefront of global art and devalue
socialist realism Socialist realism is a style of idealized realistic art that was developed in the Soviet Union The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a that spanned during its existence from 1922 to 1991. It ...
. Cockcroft wrote that Pollock became a "weapon of the
Cold War The Cold War was a period of geopolitical Geopolitics (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country loc ...
". Pollock described his art as "motion made visible memories, arrested in space".


Legacy


Impact

Pollock's staining into raw canvas was adapted by the
Color Field #REDIRECT Color field , ''Beginning'', 1958, magna on canvas painting, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Working in Washington, D.C., Noland was a pioneer of the color field movement in the late 1950s. Color field painting is a style of ab ...
painters
Helen Frankenthaler Helen Frankenthaler (December 12, 1928 – December 27, 2011) was an American abstract expressionist painter. She was a major contributor to the history of postwar American painting. Having exhibited her work for over six decades (early 1950s un ...
and
Morris Louis Morris Louis Bernstein (November 28, 1912 – September 7, 1962), known professionally as Morris Louis, was an American painter. During the 1950s he became one of the earliest exponents of Color Field painting. While living in Washington, D.C ...
.
Frank Stella Frank Philip Stella (born May 12, 1936) is an American painter, sculptor and printmaker, noted for his work in the areas of minimalism and post-painterly abstraction. Stella lives and works in New York City. Biography Frank Stella was born in Mal ...
made "all-over composition" a hallmark of his works of the 1960s. The
Happenings A happening is a performance, event, or situation art, usually as performance art Performance art is an artwork or art exhibition created through actions executed by the artist or other participants. It may be live, through documentation, spo ...
artist
Allan Kaprow Allan Kaprow (August 23, 1927 – April 5, 2006) was an American painter, assemblagist and a pioneer in establishing the concepts of performance art Performance art is an artwork or art exhibition created through actions executed by the art ...

Allan Kaprow
, sculptors
Richard Serra Richard Serra (born November 2, 1938) is an American artist An artist is a person engaged in an activity related to creating art Art is a diverse range of (products of) human activities Humans (''Homo sapiens'') are the most po ...
and
Eva Hesse Eva Hesse (January 11, 1936 – May 29, 1970) was a German-born American sculptor Sculpture is the branch of the visual arts The visual arts are art forms such as painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture Sculpture is the branch o ...
, and many contemporary artists have retained Pollock's emphasis on the process of creation; they were influenced by his approach to process, rather than the look of his work. In 2004, ''One: Number 31, 1950'' was ranked the eighth-most influential piece of modern art in a poll of 500 artists, curators, critics, and dealers.


In pop culture and media

In 1960,
Ornette Coleman Randolph Denard Ornette Coleman (March 9, 1930 – June 11, 2015) was an American jazz Jazz is a music genre A music genre is a conventional category that identifies some pieces of music Music is the of arranging s in time t ...

Ornette Coleman
's album '' Free Jazz: A Collective Improvisation'' featured a Pollock painting, ''The White Light'', as its cover artwork. In the early 1990s, three groups of movie makers were developing Pollock biographical projects, each based on a different source. The project that at first seemed most advanced was a joint venture between
Barbra Streisand Barbara Joan "Barbra" Streisand (; born April 24, 1942) is an American singer, actress, and filmmaker. With a career spanning seven decades, she has achieved success in multiple fields of entertainment and is one of the few entertainers who ...

Barbra Streisand
's Barwood Films and
Robert De Niro Robert Anthony De Niro Jr. ( , ; born August 17, 1943) is an American actor, producer, and director. He is particularly known for his nine collaborations with filmmaker Martin Scorsese Martin Charles Scorsese (, ; born November 17, ...

Robert De Niro
's
TriBeCa Productions Tribeca Productions is an American film and television production company co-founded in 1989 by actor Robert De Niro Robert Anthony De Niro Jr. (, ; born August 17, 1943) is an American actor, producer, and director. He is particularly kno ...
(De Niro's parents were friends of Krasner and Pollock). The script, by Christopher Cleveland, was to be based on Jeffrey Potter's 1985 oral biography, ''To a Violent Grave'', a collection of reminiscences by Pollock's friends. Streisand was to play the role of Lee Krasner, and De Niro was to portray Pollock. A second was to be based on ''Love Affair'' (1974), a memoir by Ruth Kligman, who was Pollock's lover in the six months before his death. This was to be directed by
Harold Becker Harold Becker (born September 25, 1928) is an American film and television director, producer Producer or producers may refer to: Occupations *Producer (agriculture), a farm operator *Film producer, oversees the making of films *A stakeholder o ...
, with
Al Pacino Alfredo James Pacino (; ; born April 25, 1940) is an American actor and filmmaker. In a career spanning over five decades, he has received many awards and nominations An award, sometimes called a distinction, is something given to a recipien ...

Al Pacino
playing Pollock.Carol Strickland (July 25, 1993)
"Race Is On to Portray Pollock"
''The New York Times''.
In 2000, the biographical film ''
Pollock Pollock or pollack (pronounced ) is the common name used for either of the two species In biology, a species is the basic unit of biological classification, classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodivers ...
'', based on the
Pulitzer Prize#REDIRECT Pulitzer Prize The Pulitzer Prize () is an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature and musical composition within the United States. It was established in 1917 by provisions in the will of Joseph ...
-winning biography, '' Jackson Pollock: An American Saga'', directed by and starring
Ed Harris Edward Allen Harris (born November 28, 1950) is an American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter. His performances in ''Apollo 13 Apollo 13 was the seventh crewed mission in the Apollo program, Apollo space program and the third mean ...

Ed Harris
, was released.
Marcia Gay Harden Marcia Gay Harden (born August 14, 1959) is an American actress. Her film breakthrough was in the 1990 Coen brothers-directed ''Miller's Crossing''. She followed this with roles in films including ''Used People'' (1992), ''The First Wives Club'' ( ...
won the
Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress The Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress is an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS, often pronounced ; also known as simply the Academy or th ...
for her portrayal of Lee Krasner. The movie was the project of Ed Harris, who portrayed Pollock. He was nominated for the
Academy Award for Best Actor The Academy Award for Best Actor is an award presented annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS, often pronounced ; also known as simply the Academy or the Motion Pictu ...
. Harris himself painted the works seen in the film.Interview with Ed Harris
at DVDtalk
The Pollock-Krasner Foundation did not authorize or collaborate with any production. In September 2009, the art historian Henry Adams claimed in '' Smithsonian'' magazine that Pollock had written his name in his famous painting ''Mural'' (1943). The painting is now insured for US$140 million. In 2011, the Republican Iowa State Representative Scott Raecker introduced a bill to force the sale of the artwork, held by the University of Iowa, to fund scholarships, but his bill created such controversy that it was quickly withdrawn.


Art market

In 1973, ''Number 11, 1952 (painting), Number 11, 1952'' (also known as ''Blue Poles'') was purchased by the Australian Gough Whitlam, Whitlam government for the National Gallery of Australia for US$2 million (A$1.3 million at the time of payment). At the time, this was the highest price ever paid for a modern painting. The painting is now one of the most popular exhibits in the gallery. It was a centerpiece of the
Museum of Modern Art The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is an art museum located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, on 53rd Street (Manhattan), 53rd Street between Fifth Avenue, Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It plays a major role in developing and collecting modern art, ...
's 1998 retrospective in New York, the first time the painting had been shown in America since its purchase. In November 2006, Pollock's ''No. 5, 1948'' became the world's most expensive painting, when it was sold privately to an undisclosed buyer for the sum of US$140 million. Another artist record was established in 2004, when ''No. 12'' (1949), a medium-sized drip painting that had been shown in the United States Pavilion at the 1950 Venice Biennale, fetched US$11.7 million at Christie's, New York. In 2012, ''Number 28, 1951'', one of the artist's combinations of drip and brushwork in shades of silvery gray with red, yellow, and shots of blue and white, also sold at Christie's, New York, for US$20.5 million—US$23 million with fees—within its estimated range of US$20 million to US$30 million. In 2013, Pollock's ''Number 19'' (1948) was sold by Christie's for a reported US$58,363,750 during an auction that ultimately reached US$495 million total sales in one night, which Christie's reports as a record to date as the most expensive auction of contemporary art. In February 2016, Bloomberg News reported that Kenneth C. Griffin had purchased Jackson Pollock's 1948 painting ''
Number 17A ''Number 17A'' is an abstract expressionist Abstract expressionism is a post–World War II art movement in American painting, developed in New York City New York City (NYC), often simply called New York, is the List of United States ...
'' for US$200 million, from David Geffen.


Authenticity issues

The Pollock-Krasner Authentication Board was created by the Pollock-Krasner Foundation in 1990 to evaluate newly found works for an upcoming supplement to the 1978 catalogue. In the past, however, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation has declined to be involved in authentication cases. In 2006, a documentary, ''Who the *$&% Is Jackson Pollock?'' was made concerning Teri Horton, a truck driver who bought an abstract painting for five dollars at a thrift store in California in 1992. This work may be a lost Pollock painting, but its authenticity is debated. ''Untitled 1950'', which the New York-based Knoedler Gallery had sold in 2007 for US$17 million to Pierre Lagrange, a London hedge-fund multimillionaire, was subject to an authenticity suit before the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Done in the painter's classic drip-and-splash style and signed "J. Pollock", the modest-sized painting (15 by 28 1/2 in) was found to contain yellow paint pigments not commercially available until about 1970. The suit was settled in a confidential agreement in 2012.


Fractal computer analysis

In 1999, physicist and artist Richard Taylor used computer analysis to show similarities between Pollock's painted patterns and fractals (patterns that recur on multiple size scales) found in natural scenery, reflecting Pollock's own words "I am Nature". His research team labelled Pollock's style fractal expressionism. In 2003, 24 Pollockesque paintings and drawings were found in a locker in Wainscott, New York. In 2005, The Pollock-Krasner Foundation requested a fractal analysis to be used for the first time in an authenticity dispute.J. Abbott, "In the Hands of a Master", ''Nature'', vol. 439, 648–650 (2006). Researchers at the University of Oregon used the technique to identify differences between the patterns in the six disputed paintings analyzed and those in 14 established Pollocks. Pigment analysis of the paintings by researchers at Harvard University showed the presence in one painting of a synthetic pigment that was not patented until the 1980s, and materials in two others that were not available in Pollock's lifetime. In 2007, a traveling museum exhibition of the paintings was mounted and was accompanied by a comprehensive book, ''Pollock Matters'', written by Ellen G. Landau, one of the four sitting scholars from the former Pollock Krasner Foundation authentication panel from the 1990s, and Claude Cernuschi, a scholar in Abstract Expressionism. In the book, Landau demonstrates the many connections between the family who owns the paintings and Jackson Pollock during his lifetime to place the paintings in what she believes to be their proper historic context. Landau also presents the forensic findings of Harvard University and presents possible explanations for the forensic inconsistencies that were found in three of the 24 paintings.Ellen G. Landau, Claude Cernuschi (2007). ''Pollock Matters''. McMullen Museum of Art Boston College, published by the University of Chicago Press.Michael Miller (December 7, 2007). "Pollock Matters, The McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College, September 1–December 9, 2007". ''The Berkshire Review, An International Journal for the Arts''. However, the scientist who invented one of the modern pigments dismissed the possibility that Pollock used this paint as being "unlikely to the point of fantasy". Subsequently, over 10 scientific groups have performed fractal analysis on over 50 of Pollock's works.L. Shamar, "What Makes a Pollock Pollock: A Machine Vision Approach", ''International Journal of Arts and Technology'', vol. 8, 1–10, (2015). A 2015 study that used fractal analysis as one of its techniques achieved a 93% success rate distinguishing real from fake Pollocks. Current research of Fractal Expressionism focuses on human response to viewing fractals. Cognitive neuroscientists have shown that Pollock's fractals induce the same stress-reduction in observers as computer-generated fractals and Nature's fractals.


Archives

Lee Krasner donated Pollock's papers to the Archives of American Art in 1983. They were later archived with her own papers. The Archives of American Art also houses the Charles Pollock papers, which include correspondence, photographs, and other files relating to his brother Jackson. A separate organization, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, was established in 1985. The foundation functions as the official estate for both Pollock and his widow, but also under the terms of Krasner's will, serves "to assist individual working artists of merit with financial need". The U.S. copyright representative for the Pollock-Krasner Foundation is the Artists Rights Society. The Pollock-Krasner House and Studio is owned and administered by the Stony Brook Foundation, a nonprofit affiliate of Stony Brook University. Regular tours of the house and studio occur from May through October.


List of major works

* (1942) ''Male and Female'' Philadelphia Museum of Art * (1942) ''Stenographic Figure''
Museum of Modern Art The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is an art museum located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, on 53rd Street (Manhattan), 53rd Street between Fifth Avenue, Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It plays a major role in developing and collecting modern art, ...
* (1942) ''The Moon Woman'' Peggy Guggenheim Collection * (1943) ''
Mural A mural is any piece of artwork painted or applied directly on a wall, ceiling or other permanent substrate, usually a vertical one, that is to say a wall. Historically, they are especially associated with the fresco Fresco (plural ''fresc ...
'' University of Iowa Museum of Art, given by
Peggy Guggenheim Marguerite "Peggy" Guggenheim ( ; August 26, 1898 – December 23, 1979) was an American art collector, bohemian and socialite. Born to the wealthy New York City Guggenheim family, she was the daughter of Benjamin Guggenheim, who went down with the ...
* (1943) ''The She-Wolf''
Museum of Modern Art The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is an art museum located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, on 53rd Street (Manhattan), 53rd Street between Fifth Avenue, Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It plays a major role in developing and collecting modern art, ...
* (1943) ''Blue (Moby Dick)'' Ohara Museum of Art * (1945) ''Night Mist'' Norton Museum of Art * (1945) ''Troubled Queen'' Museum of Fine Arts, Boston * (1946) ''Eyes in the Heat'' Peggy Guggenheim Collection, Venice * (1946) ''The Key'' Art Institute of Chicago * (1946) ''The Tea Cup'' Collection Frieder Burda * (1946) ''Shimmering Substance'', from ''The Sounds In The Grass''
Museum of Modern Art The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is an art museum located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, on 53rd Street (Manhattan), 53rd Street between Fifth Avenue, Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It plays a major role in developing and collecting modern art, ...
* (1947) ''Portrait of H.M.'' University of Iowa Museum of Art, given by
Peggy Guggenheim Marguerite "Peggy" Guggenheim ( ; August 26, 1898 – December 23, 1979) was an American art collector, bohemian and socialite. Born to the wealthy New York City Guggenheim family, she was the daughter of Benjamin Guggenheim, who went down with the ...
. * (1947) ''Full Fathom Five''
Museum of Modern Art The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is an art museum located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, on 53rd Street (Manhattan), 53rd Street between Fifth Avenue, Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It plays a major role in developing and collecting modern art, ...
* (1947) ''Cathedral'' Dallas Museum of Art * (1947) ''Enchanted Forest'' Peggy Guggenheim Collection * (1947) ''Lucifer'' The Anderson Collection at Stanford University * (1947) ''Sea Change'' Seattle Art Museum, given by
Peggy Guggenheim Marguerite "Peggy" Guggenheim ( ; August 26, 1898 – December 23, 1979) was an American art collector, bohemian and socialite. Born to the wealthy New York City Guggenheim family, she was the daughter of Benjamin Guggenheim, who went down with the ...
* (1948) ''Painting'' * (1948) ''Number 5 (painting), Number 5'' (4 ft x 8 ft) Private collection * (1948) ''Number 8'' Neuberger Museum of Art, Neuburger Museum at the State University of New York at Purchase * (1948) ''Number 13A: Arabesque'' Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut * (1948) ''Composition (White, Black, Blue and Red on White)'' New Orleans Museum of Art * (1948) ''Summertime: Number 9A'' Tate Modern * (1948) "Number 19" * (1949) ''Number 1'' Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles * (1949) ''Number 3'' Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. * (1949) ''Number 10'' Museum of Fine Arts, Boston * (1949) ''Number 11'' Indiana University Art Museum Bloomington, Indiana * (1950) ''Number 1, 1950 (Lavender Mist)'' National Gallery of Art * (1950) ''Mural on Indian red ground, 1950'' Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art * (1950) ''Autumn Rhythm (Number 30), 1950'' Metropolitan Museum of Art * (1950) ''Number 29, 1950'' National Gallery of Canada * (1950) ''Number 32'', Kunstsammlung Nordrhein-Westfalen, Düsseldorf, BRD * (1950) ''One: Number 31, 1950''
Museum of Modern Art The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) is an art museum located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, on 53rd Street (Manhattan), 53rd Street between Fifth Avenue, Fifth and Sixth Avenues. It plays a major role in developing and collecting modern art, ...
* (1951) ''Number 7'' National Gallery of Art * (1951) ''Black and White (Number 6)'' San Francisco Museum of Modern Art * (1952) ''Convergence'' Albright-Knox Art Gallery * (1952) ''Blue Poles: No. 11, 1952'' National Gallery of Australia * (1952) ''Number 12, 1952'' Empire State Plaza#Art collection, Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller Empire State Plaza Art Collection * (1953) ''Portrait and a Dream'' Dallas Museum of Art * (1953) ''Easter and the Totem'' The Museum of Modern Art * (1953) ''Ocean Greyness'' Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum * (1953) ''The Deep (painting), The Deep'' Centre Georges Pompidou


References


Further reading

* * * * * * * * *
mcah.columbia.edu


External links


Exhibition-'Memories Arrested' 2012Pollock-Krasner House and Study CenterPollock-Krasner Foundation


*[http://www.nga.gov.au/International/Catalogue/Detail.cfm?IRN=36334&MnuID=2&GalID=1 ''Blue Poles''] at the NGA *[https://web.archive.org/web/20051224171704/http://materialscience.uoregon.edu/taylor/art/info.html#Recent_Publications Fractal Expressionism] – the fractal qualities of Pollock's drip paintings.
Jackson Pollock Papers at the Smithsonian's Archives of American Art"Jackson Pollock, John Cage and William Burroughs"
talk at MOMA
pictures of Pollock
slideshow ''Life Magazine'' *wikilivres:Jackson Pollock, Works by Jackson Pollock (public domain in Canada) Museum links *
The Solomon R. Guggenheim FoundationLos Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles, CaliforniaMuseum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), Los Angeles, CaliforniaJackson Pollock
at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem {{DEFAULTSORT:Pollock, Jackson Jackson Pollock, Abstract painters American abstract artists Abstract expressionist artists 20th-century American painters American male painters 1912 births 1956 deaths American people of Scottish descent American people of Irish descent American people of Scotch-Irish descent Art Students League of New York alumni Painters from California Painters from New York (state) Artists from Wyoming People from Springs, New York People from Chico, California People from Echo Park, Los Angeles People from Cody, Wyoming Federal Art Project artists Alcohol-related deaths in New York (state) Road incident deaths in New York (state) Burials at Green River Cemetery Sibling artists