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Allover Painting

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Jackson Pollock (American, 1912–1956). One: Number 31, 1950. 1950. Oil and enamel paint on canvas, 8' 10" x 17' 5 5/8" (269.5 x 530.8 cm). The Museum of Modern Art. Sidney and Harriet Janis Collection Fund (by exchange), 1968. © 2010 The Pollock-Krasner Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Allover painting refers to a canvas covered in paint from edge to edge and from corner to corner, in which each area of the composition is given equal attention and significance. This is a radically different approach from modes of painting that offer specific focal points, such as the sitter's face in the case of a portrait. With an allover composition, our eyes are invited to wander the canvas from the top to the bottom, following lines, shapes, and colors.

Ad Reinhardt (American, 1913–1967). Abstract Painting, Red. 1952. Oil on canvas, 9' x 40 1/8" (274.4 x 102 cm) . The Museum of Modern Art. Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Gifford Phillips, 1991. © 2010 Estate of Ad Reinhardt/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Allover painting refers to a canvas covered in paint from edge to edge and from corner to corner, in which each area of the composition is given equal attention and significance. This is a radically different approach from modes of painting that offer specific focal points, such as the sitter's face in the case of a portrait. With an allover composition, our eyes are invited to wander the canvas from the top to the bottom, following lines, shapes, and colors.

Lee Krasner (American, 1908–1984). Untitled. 1949. Oil on composition board, 48 x 37" (121.9 x 93.9 cm). The Museum of Modern Art. Gift of Alfonso A. Ossorio, 1969. © 2010 The Pollock-Krasner Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

Allover painting refers to a canvas covered in paint from edge to edge and from corner to corner, in which each area of the composition is given equal attention and significance. This is a radically different approach from modes of painting that offer specific focal points, such as the sitter's face in the case of a portrait. With an allover composition, our eyes are invited to wander the canvas from the top to the bottom, following lines, shapes, and colors.