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Jackson Pollock (American, 1912–1956)

About this artist

Source: The Museum of Modern Art

Born in 1912 in Cody, Wyoming, Jackson Pollock moved to New York in 1930 to study at the Art Students League. The socially minded scenes depicted in his representational paintings of the 1930s gave way to more personal, symbolic iconography in the following decade, due partly to his interest in the Surrealist strategy of automatism (drawing, painting, or writing freely to unearth subconscious desires)—an interest shared by many artists associated with Abstract Expressionism—and his experiences with Jungian psychoanalysis. Exhibiting regularly throughout the mid-1940s in New York, Pollock relocated to East Hampton, Long Island in late 1945, a move that provided an opportunity to observe nature directly and to work at larger scales. By 1947, he had begun to experiment with making "drip" paintings of varying sizes, pouring paint directly from the can over a canvas lying flat on the floor. "On the floor I am more at ease," he said. "I feel nearer, more a part of the painting since this way I can walk around it, work from the four sides and literally be in the painting." Titled numerically, so as to avoid any outside associations, these "drip" paintings comprise calligraphic, looping cords of color that animate and energize every inch of their compositions.

The Museum of Modern Art has demonstrated a deep, longstanding commitment to the work of Jackson Pollock. One of his best-known "drip" paintings, One: Number 31, 1950, is part of MoMA's collection, alongside several other paintings and a multitude of works on paper. He was the subject of a major MoMA retrospective in 1998, and a recent extensive conservation effort at the Museum has revealed a range of new insight into his materials and techniques. Reflecting the radical shift in art toward Abstract Expressionism, Pollock's paintings are emblematic of an important moment for American art in the mid-20th century.

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Introduction

Source: Oxford University Press

American painter.

© 2009 Oxford University Press

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